**Author:**
Covay, Elizabeth

**Title:**
*Composition Matters: The Relationship Between Race and School Composition in Explaining the Black-White Gap*

**University Affiliation:**
University of Notre Dame

**Email:**
ecovay@nd.edu

**Research Question:**
Uses the institutional perspective to explore Black-White differences in high school course taking.

**Published:**
No

**Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:**
N/A

**Journal Entry:**
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting

**Year:**
2008

**Findings:**

- Net of background characteristics, Black students, compared to White students, are more likely to take advanced math courses, especially in schools that are predominately minority, as would be expected by the institutional perspective.
- Black students tend to gain fewer returns from taking advanced math courses, with a marked difference in gains as the percent minority within the school increases.
- Black students are underrepresented in upper level math courses, this would suggest that Black students have fewer opportunities to learn because there are fewer Black students in these advanced math courses.
- As the percent minority within a school increases, students tend to make fewer gains on the math tests from 10th to 12th grade.
- Overall, White students tend to make greater gains as the highest math level taken increases, irrelevant of the racial composition of the school. On the other hand, Black students' gains are related to both their highest level math taken and the racial composition of the school.

**Scholarship Type**
Unpublished Research

**Keywords:**
Academic Achievement, Achievement Gap, Context, Math, Racial Composition, SES

**Regions**
National

**Methodologies:**
Quantitative

**Research Designs:**
Secondary Survey Data

**Method of Analysis:**
Logistic Regression

**Sampling Frame:**
10th graders in 2002 and 12th graders in 2004

**Sample Types:**
Random

**Unit of Analysis:**
School, Student

**Data Types:**
Quantitative-Longitudinal

**Data Description:**

- Uses the Education Longitudinal Study (ELS) 2002 10th graders and 2004 12th graders.
- approximately 11,330 students (2190 Black and 11,330 White)
- DV: Highest math course of a half of year or more taken by the student as of his/her senior year of HS (at least trigonometry, at least pre-calculus and calculus), and also math gains from 10th to 12th grade (math IRT scores).
- IV: Race, school composition (racial composition, etc)
- Control variables: Math skills, grade level, student's effort, student background variables (gender, family structure, and family SES).
- Only included Black and White for the analysis.

**Relevance:**