Steady Gains and Stalled Progress
Inequality and the Black-White Test Score Gap
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Title Page, Copyright
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About the Authors
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A hundred and forty-five years after the Emancipation Proclamation and fifty-five years after Brown v. Board of Education, segregation is no longer the law of the land, and in principle black and white children have the benefit of equal opportunities. Yet, across many dimensions, black Americans do not start life on equal footing with their white neighbors. ...
PART I: A LONG-TERM VIEW
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Chapter 1. Inequality and Black-White Achievement Trends in the NAEP
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How do recent changes in economic inequality and related social dimensions of inequality relate to trends in black-white test score gaps? In this chapter, we provide new evidence on the question, analyzing the links between inequality and black-white achievement trends for nine-year-olds using the National Assessment of Educational Progress Long-Term Trend data (NAEP-LTT) from 1975 to 2004. ...
Chapter 2. Changes in Families, Schools, and the Test Score Gap
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Systematic empirical examination of the effects of changes between and within schools on student achievement has been of theoretical and empirical import for many years. Some researchers raise concerns that worsening family environments and schools have negative consequences for students’ educational outcomes (Christensen 1990; Haveman and Wolfe 1994; Herrnstein and Murray 1994; Murray and Herrnstein 1992; Popenoe 1993; Uhlenberg and Eggebeen 1986). ...
Chapter 3. Income Inequality and Racial Gaps in Test Scores
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Income inequality among American families has grown steadily since the 1980s, as has the racial-ethnic income gap (Lichter and Eggebeen 1993). These trends are documented in table 3.1, which shows that the standard deviation of U.S. family income doubled from the 1980 to 2000 decennial censuses, and that the gaps between racial-ethnic groups also rose during this period. ...
PART II: EXPLAINING GAPS AT SCHOOL ENTRY AND DURING SCHOOL
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Chapter 4. Can Gaps in the Quality of Early Environments and Noncognitive Skills HelpExplain Persisting Black-White Achievement Gaps?
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A large body of research in social science has been directed toward addressing the causes of and solutions to continuing inequality of outcomes between black and white Americans (for recent summaries, see Neckerman 2004; Jencks and Phillips 1998). Historically, this research has created an expectation that such gaps would close over generations in a competitive economy if educational and labor market opportunities were equalized. ...
Chapter 5. Segregation and the Test Score Gap
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Disparities in educational outcomes between African Americans and whites declined steadily for most of the twentieth century, but this progress has halted or even reversed in recent years (Neal 2006). Understanding why the black-white test score gap narrowed over time, and why this progress stalled during the 1990s, is critical if we are to design policies capable ...
Chapter 6. The Role of Inequality in Teacher Quality
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In January 2002, the federal government enacted No Child Left Behind (NCLB), an aggressive effort to hold schools and state education agencies accountable for “clos[ing] the achievement gap between high- and low-performing children, especially the achievement gap between minority and non-minority students.”1 After decades of progress, the achievement gap between African American and white children in reading ...
Chapter 7. Culture and Stalled Progress in Narrowing the Black-White Test Score Gap
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Between 1971 and the late 1980s, the black-white test score gap narrowed considerably in both reading and math. That progress had subsided by 1990, though it may now have resumed. Many scholars have explored why the gap narrowed—concluding that improvements in African American’s socioeconomic circumstances contributed to the narrowing, and that African American students' ...
PART III: CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS
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Chapter 8. School Policies and the Test Score Gap
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On average, black students in the United States achieve at lower levels than white students do. Recent evidence from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicates, for example, that in 2004 the gap between thirteen-year-old black and white students was about 0.6 standard deviation in reading and about 0.8 in math. To be sure, such gaps were far larger in the 1970s, ...
Chapter 9. What We’ve Learned About Stalled Progress in Closing the Black-White Achievement Gap
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Overcoming academic, social, and economic disparities between blacks and whites in the United States is an aspiration that dates back to when teaching a black person to read was against the law— an act of civil disobedience. Even then, before the emancipation, some people dared challenge the idea that race should determine a person’s destiny. ...
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Page Count: 369
Publication Year: 2008