Page, Lindsay, Murnane, Richard, & Willett, John
Trends in the Black-White Achievement Gap: Clarifying the Meaning of Within-and Between-School Achievement Gaps
Decompose black-White achievement gap trends between 1971 and 2004 into trends in within-and between-school differences.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
National Bureau of Economic Research
Working Paper 14213
- 40% of the narrowing of the gap through the 1970s and 1980s is attributable to the narrowing of within=school differences between Black and White students.
- The consequences for achievement of attending a high minority school became increasingly deleterious between 1971 and 1999.
- Trends in the educational attainments of students' parents and in the payoffs to that attainment play important roles in explaining the narrowing of the racial gap in average achievement in the 1970s and 1980s and it subsequent widening in the 1990s.
- During the last three decades of the 20th century the deleterious consequences for Black students of attending a racially segregated school increased steadily.
- The extent to which the narrowing of the gap from 1971 to 1988 is metric dependent.
- Cross-sectionally, differences in parental education explain between 12 and 28 percent of the achievement gap.
- The Deleterious impact on reading achievement of attending an overwhelmingly Black school increased from 1971 to 1999.
- Growth of between-school differences from 1971 to 1999 is driven in large part by a combination of the worsening of student performance in high-minority schools in disadvantaged urban areas and the increased concentration of Black students in these schools.
- The choice of decomposition methodology affects the findings of between and within school effects.
Achievement Gap, Math, Racial Composition, Reading
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
13 year old students
Unit of Analysis:
- National Assessment of Educational Progress Long Term Trend (NAEP-LTT), 1971-2004.
- Focused on 13 year old students (Middle School).
- Analyses decomposition mechanism of Cook and Evans (2000), Hanushek and Rivkin (2006) and Reardon (2007).
- DV: Reading assessments for period 1971-2004 and math assessments for period 1978-2004.
- IV: Within- and between-school differences