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Is the Achievement Gap Narrowing?

Posted By Bethany Stotts On October 20, 2009 @ 12:14 pm In Faculty Lounge | No Comments

A recent report [1] issued by the Center on Education Policy concludes that “in 74% of instances” studied states showed narrowing achievement gaps in their 2007-08 academic test scores.  The researchers at CEP found that these trends continue, to varying degrees, at all grade levels measured: 4th, 8th and 12th grade.

“As measured by percentages of students scoring proficient, gaps between subgroups have narrowed in most states at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, although in a notable minority of cases gaps have widened,” they write.

However, “Most often gaps narrowed because the achievement of lower-performing sub- groups went up rather than because the achievement of higher-performing sub- groups went down.”

The “subgroups” measured were
-African Americans,
– Latinos,
– Asians,
– Native Americans,
– Whites,
– and Low-Income students.

The authors also note later that in cases where gaps increased, it was often because white students improved at a greater pace than their minority colleagues. In other words, more students are succeeding in their math and english overall, with more equitable returns between minorities and the white population.

(Note: data was provided unevenly for the study & sometimes the CEP conclusions were based on less than a supermajority of states).

Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia [2].

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[2] Accuracy in Academia: http://academia.org/

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