Fryer, Roland, & Levitt, Steven
Understanding The Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School
Gaining a better understanding of the underlying causes of the test score gap.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The Review of Economics and Statistics
Vol. 86, No. 2, pp. 447-464
- Although Black test scores lag Whites by a large margin, the inclusion of a small number of covariates eliminates any systematic differences in the math and reading performance of Whites and Blacks entering kindergarten.
- Controlling for socioeconomic status substantially reduces the estimated racial gaps in test scores. The Black-White gap in math falls by more than 40%; the reading gap is reduced by more than two-thirds.
- Why are Black Students Losing Ground in the First Two Years of School? 1) There is evidence linking school quality differences to the divergent trajectories.
- The importance of no school factors decrease over time , presumably because schools become a critical input into educational gains once children enter school, therefore it doesn't seem that the importance of parental and environmental inputs grow as children age.
- Little support that differential summer setbacks explain the lost ground of Black students in the sample.
- The only hypothesis that receives support to explain why the gap between White and Black children grows is that Black students attend lower quality schools, though authors recognize they haven't given a definite proof.
- The patterns in the test scores are replicated in teacher assessments to they don't seem to be an artifact of standardized testing.
- Teacher's bias or differential socialization do not seem to explain Black students losing ground.
- It doesn't show that the material tested changes as children age in a manner that lowers the relative performance of Black students.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Achievement Gap, Kindergarten, Math, Reading, School Quality
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Weighted Least Square Regressions
Children entering Kindergarten
Unit of Analysis:
- The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study kindergarten cohort (ECLS-K) = a nationally representative sample of over 20,000 children entering kindergarten in 1998.
- DV: Primary outcome variables: math and reading standardized test scores, and subjective teacher assessments of a child's math and reading achievement.
- IV: Race, SES, children's age, child's birth weight, WIC participation, mother's age at first birth, number of children's books in the home.
- Roughly 1,000 schools are included in the sample, with an average of more than 20 children per school in the study.