The Impact of School Composition on Black and White Achievement Gap

According to a recent study conducted by Bohrnstedt, G., Kitmitto, S., Ogut, B., Sherman, D., and Chan, D. published by the National Center for Education Statistics, there is a significant positive correlation between school composition and black-white achievement gap.

Using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2011 Mathematics Grade 8 Assessment and the Common Core for 2010–11, the study found that while the achievement gap between white and black students remains significant overall with white students performing higher, the “achievement for both Black and White students was lower in the highest Black student density schools than in the lowest density schools. For Black students overall, and Black males in particular, achievement was still lower in the highest density schools than in the lowest density schools.”

Policy makers and educational practitioners should use the results of this study to inform both allocation of resources, and instructional practices in this environment of increasing resegregation of public schools.

NAEP is the largest nationally representativ​e and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.

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2015 NAEP Scores Take a Dip

The 2015 average scores for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)’s Mathematics assessments are significantly lower than the 2013 scores in grades 4 and 8. The 2015 Reading assessments average scores in grade 8 are also lower than those from 2013 while the grade 4 reading scores are not different in both years. These scores indicate that spending too much time on testing in schools did not improve student achievement.

NAEP’s Data Show A Steady Growth in Math for Hispanic Students

A report released on November 10, 2014 by Child Trends Hispanic Institute based on the analysis of National Assessment of Educational Progress, NAEP’s, data covering the past ten years show a significant and steady growth in federal Math tests by Hispanic students. Major cities such as Houston, Charlotte, Boston and the District showed the most gains.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit research center, Child Trends Hispanic Institute indicated that the growth is about one grade level with fourth grade students’ scores going up nine points and eighth grade students’ scores going up thirteen points. NAEP’s report is also known as the Nation’s Report Card and represents the “most consistent measure of K-12 progress” in the United States.

Natalia Pane, the vice president of research operations at Child Trends who authored the report expressed surprise at her findings and said, “It’s really interesting what’s going on in the large cities. Our large cities were able to keep pace when they’ve got such higher proportions of students coming from low-income families.”