The Black-White Gap in Mathematics Course Taking
Analyze differences in the mathematics course taking of white and black students. Examine determinants of enrollment in math courses of Blacks in 10th
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Sociology of Education
Vol. 82, No. 1, pp. 47-69
- 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.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Achievement Gap, Composition, Math, Racial Composition, Tracking
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- 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.