Race, Racial Concentration, and the Dynamics of Educational Inequality Across Urban and Suburban Schools
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
How does the process of educational performance and attainment differ across the 2 types of American schools (low and high minority schools)?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 45, No. 4, pp. 886-912
- Racial segregation is detrimental to the overall learning process for students between 8th and 10th grade.
- White and African American students in predominantly Black, particularly, urban, schools are significantly disadvantaged at each point of the learning process compared to students in other school types.
- The largest Black-White gap in achievement exists in High Minority urban schools and the smallest in High Minority suburban schools.
- Course taking is distinct by racial group, but for each group, similar across Low and High Minority schools.
- The Black-White achievement gap increases slightly within each school type between 8th and 10th grades.
- Results indicate that African American students are less likely to leave 8th grade having taken higher level math courses such as pre-Algebra compared to their White classmates, particularly if they are in High Minority schools.
- the Black-White engagement gap is substantially greater in High Minority schools, particularly if the schools are located in urban and rural areas.
- The racial gaps may operate differently in Low and High Minority schools, as well as across suburban and urban contexts.
- The mean achievement at the end of 8th grade is substantially lower for students in High Minority compared to Low Minority suburban schools.
- African American students score significantly ly lower than Whites in both Low and High Minority schools. This racial math test gap in 8th grade also appears to e substantially larger in High Minority compared to Low Minority suburban schools.
- the learning pay-off for being in a more advanced math class is larger in Low Minority suburban schools. However, the pay-off in terms of achievement for students who take higher math in High Minority urban schools is similar to students in Low Minority suburban schools.
- Academic engagement also seems to help boost academic achievement more in High Minority versus Low Minority schools, with the largest coefficients for students in High Minority urban schools.
- Much of the gap in suburban schools is accounted for by prior achieving, coursework, and engagement.
- Prior math class, student effort or engagement, and math achievement are positively related to 9th grade and 10th grade math course taking. These effects are of similar magnitude across the two types of suburban schools, but prior academic achievement engagement seems to be a more important predictor of high school math sequence for students from High Minority compared to Low Minority schools.
- On average. Students attending High Minority schools who take a higher math class in 8th grade are much more likely to enroll in higher math courses if they attend urban High Minority schools. This demonstrates that the stability of course placement over time is much greater in High Minority urban schools and suggests that students who fail to take higher math courses early on the schooling process may be at a particular disadvantage later on if they are in High Minority urban schools.
- On average, students in minority schools have significantly lower engagement, particularly if those schools are located in urban areas.
- The average gains in math made by students in urban and rural High Minority schools were significantly lower than those made by students in suburban High Minority schools.
- In most schools, the lower achievement gains by African American students compared to White students are almost entirely accounted for by differences in prior achievement, math course sequence, and to a lesser extent, current engagement, However, substantial racial gaps in math achievement remain in suburban Low Minority schools as well as urban and rural High Minority schools, even after controlling for prior math score, math courses, and engagement.
- The stability of achievement over time is weaker in urban High Minority schools. Furthermore, the effect of math course sequence on math achieving is much stronger in urban High Minority schools.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Inequality, Math, Racial Composition, Urban Schools
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Uses NELS (1988-1990), a stratified nationally representative sample of approximately 24,500 8th grade students who are followed up in the 10th grade.
- Sample is restricted to students who participated in both the base year (8th grade) and first follow-up (10th grade) survey.
- Sample is restricted to non-Hispanic White and African American students; and to students who attended public middle and comprehensive public high schools.
- Final sample of 6,063 White and 650 African American students in 660 public middle schools and 667 comprehensive public high schools.
- Variables: student level (opportunities to learn, math course sequence, academic engagement, academic achievement, gender, single mother household, low SES status, mother's education), school level (percentage receiving free or reduced price lunch, percentage Black, urban, rural, south, total school enrollment in middle and high school).
- Different regressions done for 8th and 10th grade and separate analysis done for students attending Low and High Minority schools.
- DV: math course taken in 8th grade
- IV: student's race
- DV: academic engagement
- IV: race, 8th grade math class
- DV: test score at the end of 8th grade
- IV: math class, academic engagement
- DV: student engagement
- IV: race, 8th grade measures of academic engagement, math test core, math sequence
- DV: math test score in 10th grade
- IV: race, 8th grade math test score, and 10th grade student engagement and math course sequence in the first 2 years of high school