Longitudinal changes in the magnitude of the racial and ethnic gaps in school achievement in the US

Below are the results from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) and Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011). Scores for general knowledge (for grades k and 1), science (for grades 3, 5 and 8), and both math and reading (for grades K, 1, 3, 5, and 8) were available. Pooled standard deviations for the groups being compared were used, except for ECLS-K:2011, for the reason noted. Excel file: here. To summarize the gaps, I averages Math and Reading scores in addition to averaging all scores. I also creased an average of all scores across all years.

Point of interest: the Black-White reading gap is down to one-third of a standard deviation at age 5 as of 2010-2011. (Note: It’s not obvious to me why the B/W gap increases, as it does, with age. The rate of the growth of the gap is too large to be accounted for by a simple genetic model (i.e., solely due to increased WGH with age).



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One Response to Longitudinal changes in the magnitude of the racial and ethnic gaps in school achievement in the US

  1. panjoomby says:

    it’s too hard to measure that stuff well at age 5. too many folks getting raw scores of zero on whatever test, not enough variation has developed, same happens in math, the smart 2nd graders top out without having been exposed to multiplication, etc. also throw in reading & math together & at the younger age they’ll yield one factor, b/c not enough variation exists yet for the data to form more separate reading & math factors. whites will form those 2 factors sooner (around 2nd grade) blacks later – NOT b/c the test is measuring something different for them, but simply b/c they score lower with less variation – so they don’t show 2 factors as a group till about 4th grade. anyway, it’s all due to how things are being measured & the difficulty with measuring achievement at a young age (b/c there’s much less variation b/c they can’t do much yet:) same with intelligence – very young groups (OR low scoring groups) = 1 factor, the more variability (the older, the higher up some are on ability) the more factors. cheers!

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