3/19/2019 Achievement Gap - Education Week 1/4 LOGIN | REGISTER | SUBSCRIBE Sign Up for FREE E-Newsletters Browse archived issues Current Issue Published: September 10, 2004 Achievement Gap By Susan Ansell Updated: July 7, 2011 The “achievement gap” in education refers to the disparity in academic performance between groups of students. The achievement gap shows up in grades, standardized-test scores, course selection, dropout rates, and college- completion rates, among other success measures. It is most often used to describe the troubling performance gaps between African-American and Hispanic students, at the lower end of the performance scale, and their non- Hispanic white peers, and the similar academic disparity between students from low-income families and those who are better off. In the past decade, though, scholars and policymakers have begun to focus increasing attention on other achievement gaps, such as those based on sex, English-language proficiency and learning disabilities. With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 , closing achievement gaps among these various student groups became a focus of federal education accountability, and schools and districts were required to disaggregate student test scores and other performance data by student characteristics to enable better comparisons between groups. This created both to greater awareness of racial disparities and to rising concern about other kinds of achievement gaps. The attention led to more targeted interventions for different groups of students, but had not closed most achievement gaps to an appreciable degree a decade of the law passed. While National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results show that, over time, black and Hispanic students have made great strides in improving performance in reading and mathematics, a breach still separated them from their white peers. For example, special analyses by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2009 and 2011 showed that black and Hispanic students trailed their white peers by an average of more than 20 test-score points on the NAEP math and reading assessments at 4th and 8th grades, a difference of about two grade levels. These gaps persisted even though the score differentials between black and white students narrowed between 1992 and 2007 in 4th grade math and reading and 8th grade math (NCES, 2009, 2011). Students’ high school course-taking patterns provide a slightly more positive progress picture. Data from the U.S. Department of Education show that students across the board greatly increased the average number of course credits they earned by graduation by 2009. Black students went from taking the least credit-hours in 1990, 23.5, to the most of any student group in 2009, 27.4. Hispanic students increased their average credits from 24 to 26.5; white students from 23.7 to 27.3; and Asian American and Pacific Islander students from 24.2 to 27 credits during the same time period. All student groups likewise improved the number of core academic courses they took during that time, with black students overtaking white students in their participation in core academic courses.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 4 pages?
- Winter '18
- Annotated Bib, Gymnasium, Minority group, Department of Education