Lucas, Samuel R., & Berends, Mark
Race and Track Locations in U.S. Public Schools
University of California-Berkley
Investigate school-level differences in racial gaps in curricular location, to discern and explain varying racial/ethnic gaps.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility
Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 169-187
- Public schools vary appreciably in their Black-White differences in college prep placement. Further, those differences do not appear to be random but, instead, are in part associated with governance, racial diversity, and perhaps school wealth.
- No statistically significant effects of racial composition on Black students' college preparatory course-taking. Thus it appears that the effect of diversity on Black students' course taking prospects is a more complex function of racial composition than we have been able to capture with mere percentages of different groups.
- For Whites, we found that the presence of Black students or of non-White students was associated with higher chances of college preparatory course-taking. At the same time, the presence of White students, or non-Black students, was associated with lower chances of college preparatory course-taking. However, the proportion of Latino/as and Asians had no impact on Whites college preparatory chances.
- College prep prospects for Whites are driven mainly by White and Black students.
- All racial groups matter for Blacks' college prep chances, and that they do so through a more complex functional form.
- Whites or non-Blacks in racially diverse schools crowd comparable Blacks out of the college preparatory curriculum. Findings show that cognitively and socioeconomically comparable Blacks in diverse schools are more likely to be in lower tracks than are Whites.
- Tracking may become a segregate device in diverse schools. In such contexts, school personnel may be pressured by non-Black parents and, in response, place non-Black students ahead of Black students in the queue for advantageous curricular positions.
- Findings suggest that desegregation is insufficient to enable Black students of gain access to demanding curricula, for once inside more diverse schools.
- Where Blacks encounter students of other races, promising Blacks are more likely to enter lower track levels in a more rigidly stratified curriculum; where comparable Blacks study alone, they are more likely to enter the school's college preparatory curriculum.
- Analyst must explore cross-school variation to discern when, where, and why comparable students have different placements.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Diversity, Racial Composition, Tracking
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- High School and Beyond Data.
- Used data from 1980, 1982, 1983.
- Total sample included 11211 students and 798 schools.
- Focus on Public Schools.
- DV: Used course-based indicators(CBIs) of track location described by Lucas (1990). These are: (1) subject-specific indicators, (2)dichotomous summary indicators, and (3) interval-level summary indicators.
- IV: Student level (Race, parent's education, parent's occupation, family income, number of siblings, broken family, achievement, track location). School level (school poverty (Title I school, has a library or not, expenditure per pupil), governance, faculty sponsorship, legacy of racial conflict, incidence of racial/ethnic diversity).