Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Achievement gaps within racial groups identified for first time

06.03.2008
A University of Michigan study finds that when it comes to achievement gaps within racial groups, catching up over time is common.

In the first known study to analyze reading and math achievement within racial groups during elementary school, researchers found high achievers within all groups and that a substantial proportion of children catch up to the high achievers in their groups over time.

The study, presented today in Washington, D.C. at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, analyzes data on a national sample of 8,060 students, collected at four points in time, starting in kindergarten and ending in the spring of fifth grade.

"We found significant achievement gaps within racial and ethnic groups," said Pamela Davis-Kean, a developmental psychologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) who conducted the study with U-M post-doctoral fellow Justin Jager.

"We also found a significant proportion of students who caught up to the high achievers in their groups by the end of fifth grade, especially in reading. This shows that schooling does have an impact in closing the achievement gap for substantial numbers of children."

In reading, the researchers found that there were high-performing groups in all races. "This is a fact that sometimes gets lost in discussions of the achievement gap between white students and students of other races," Davis-Kean said.

In every group except Hispanics, the researchers also found that there were significant numbers who started kindergarten lower in reading achievement but moved into the high-achieving group by the end of fifth grade.

About 30 percent of European Americans, 26 percent of African Americans and 45 percent of Asian Americans were in high-achieving groups by the spring of fifth grade.

These high-achieving groups included approximately 23 percent of African American children and 36 percent of Asian children who caught up with the initial group of high achievers over time, Davis-Kean and Jager found. A much smaller percentage of European American students were in catch-up groups—more than four percent. "This is because a higher percentage of European Americans started kindergarten as high achievers in reading," Davis-Kean said.

Among Hispanic students, the researchers found a different pattern. By the end of fifth grade, just over five percent of Hispanic children were high achievers in reading, while about the remainder—95 percent—tested in the middle range. There were no low achievers and no catch-up groups among Hispanic students.

"We don't know why the achievement trajectory of Hispanic students is different from that of the other groups," Davis-Kean said. "It may be that some aspect of administering achievement tests in Spanish- and English-language versions has the effect of reducing the heterogeneity of Hispanic students' achievement."

In math, the researchers found a different pattern from reading. Far fewer students from all groups were high-achievers, and fewer also caught up. Only 17 percent of European American students were high-achievers in math by the end of fifth grade, including 13 percent who started kindergarten at a lower achievement level and caught up over time.

About 18 percent of Asian Americans were high-achievers at the end of fifth grade, including about 11 percent who caught up over time. For African Americans, just 0.3 percent were high achievers at the end of fifth grade, while about 26 percent were medium-high achievers; no catch-up group emerged. About 16 percent of Hispanics were high achievers in math, and again, no catch-up group emerged

The differences between patterns in reading and math achievement are noteworthy, according to Davis-Kean.

"In general, our nation is not looking too bad in terms of reading achievement," she said. "That makes sense because in the first years of school, reading gets the bulk of time and attention. But in math, the situation is very different. There are fewer high achievers in all the groups than there are in reading, and there are many more students who seem stuck in lower achievement trajectories. This suggests that schooling doesn't have as strong an impact on math achievement as it does in reading."

Overall, Davis-Kean notes, the findings of the study have some important implications for improving the nation's effectiveness in reducing the stubborn achievement gap between racial and ethnic groups.

"By identifying what the characteristics are of students who can catch up on their own, and what the characteristics are of children who are persistent low-achievers, hopefully we can focus our time and money on the children who really need extra help in order to catch up," she said.

The research was funded by the American Educational Research Association. Davis-Kean directs the Center for the Analysis of Pathways from Childhood to Adulthood (CAPCA) at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR). CAPCA is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Established in 1948, the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) is among the world's oldest academic survey research organizations, and a world leader in the development and application of social science methodology. ISR conducts some of the most widely-cited studies in the nation, including the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, the American National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the Institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the world's largest computerized social science data archive.

Diane Swanbrow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.isr.umich.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>