**Author:**
Kelly, Sean

**Title:**
*The Black-White Gap in Mathematics Course Taking*

**University Affiliation:**
Harvard University

**Email:**
sdkelly@fas.harvard.edu

**Research Question:**
Analyze differences in the mathematics course taking of white and black students. Examine determinants of enrollment in math courses of Blacks in 10th

**Published:**
Yes

**Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:**
Sociology of Education

**Journal Entry:**
Vol. 82, No. 1, pp. 47-69

**Year:**
2009

**Findings:**

- Black students are much more likely than are White students to be enrolled in low-track mathematics courses by 10th grade.
- The Black-White gap in mathematics course taking is the greatest in integrated schools where black students are in the minority and cannot be entirely accounted for by individual-level differences in the course-taking qualifications or family backgrounds of White and Black students.
- On average, there is no Black-White gap in mathematics course taking after test scores, grades, prior track placement, and SES are taken into account.
- After the individual level variables as well as several school variables are adjusted for, predominantly Black schools actually have a higher level of mathematics course taking.
- The schools that Black students attend have an inclusive approach to course taking in math, with a greater number of students than would be enrolled at predominantly white schools with students of similar achievement level and backgrounds.
- Black students are at a course-taking disadvantage in predominantly White schools
- Black students are disadvantaged within predominately White public schools.
- There appears no similar disadvantage in predominately White Catholic schools. Moreover, the average level of mathematics course taking among all students was higher in Catholic schools.
- there appears to be a connection between the racial composition of a school and the chances of Black and White students enrolling in high-track math courses.
- Even when Black students attend integrated schools, they face resegregation within these schools.
- Students in predominately Black schools may still benefit from an inclusive approach to enrollment in upper-track courses.

**Scholarship Type**
Journal Article Empirical Research

**Keywords:**
Achievement Gap, Composition, Math, Racial Composition, Tracking

**Regions**
National

**Methodologies:**
Quantitative

**Research Designs:**
Secondary Survey Data

**Method of Analysis:**
Multilevel Models

**Sampling Frame:**
High School

**Sample Types:**
Random

**Unit of Analysis:**
School, Student

**Data Types:**
Quantitative-Longitudinal

**Data Description:**

- Used NELS 1988.
- Used measures of achievement and other indicators in the 8th grade to predict math course taking in the 9th and 10th grades in a longitudinal analysis.
- Used data from 13,548 students who had transcripts of both the 9th and 10th grades as well as key achievement and socioeconomic data. Full sample includes 1,087 schools.
- DV: Indicator of sophomore-year course taking (mathematics sequence). This is an ordinal variable with 5 categories: less than Algebra I; Algebra I; Algebra II or Geometry but not both; Algebra II and Geometry; and Greater than Algebra II or Geometry.
- IV: School level (% Black, % Hispanic, % free lunch, urban/rural, catholic/private religious/private non-religious); Individual Level ( proportion of Black, Hispanic, Asian, Other, Male, Math grades, Math tests, English test, History test, Prior track placement, family structure, parental education, family income).
- Article discusses two possible sources of racial inequalities: 1) discrimination by school personnel, either intentional or statistical, and the decisions of students themselves.
- This article investigated the contextual factors that influence inequality in course taking within and between schools.

**Relevance:**