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The Dynamics of the Racial Test Score Gap During the School Years in Britain

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  • Patacchini, Eleonora
  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

We investigate the racial gap in test scores between white and non-white students in Britain both in levels and differences across the school years. We find that there is a substantial racial gap in test scores, especially between ages 7 and 11, and a less severe one between ages 11 and 16. It thus seems that nonwhites are losing ground at school, especially during the first five years. We then investigate the reasons behind this racial gap and its evolution. We focus on racial differences in parents' involvement in education. We find that a non-negligible part of the test score racial gap can be explained by these cultural differences. In particular, we show that if non-white parents would invest in education of their 11 year-old children as much as white parents do, then the racial test score gap in reading and mathematics would be reduced by 18.1 and 7.2 percent, respectively.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5661.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5661

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Keywords: cultural differences; education; ethnic minorities; parental involvement;

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  1. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," NBER Working Papers 8975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Derek Neal, 2005. "Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?," NBER Working Papers 11090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Deborah Wilson & Simon Burgess & Adam Briggs, 2011. "The dynamics of school attainment of England’s ethnic minorities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 681-700, April.
  4. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  6. Steve Bradley & Jim Taylor, 2004. "Ethnicity, educational attainment and the transition from school," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 72(3), pages 317-346, 06.
  7. Cook, Michael D & Evans, William N, 2000. "Families or Schools? Explaining the Convergence in White and Black Academic Performance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 729-54, October.
  8. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Paul Torelli, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of 'Acting White'," NBER Working Papers 11334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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