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The Academic Achievement Gap in Grades 3 to 8

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  • Charles T. Clotfelter
  • Helen F. Ladd
  • Jacob L. Vigdor

Abstract

Using data for North Carolina public school students in grades 3 to 8, we examine achievement gaps between white students and students from other racial and ethnic groups. We focus on successive cohorts of students who stay in the state's public schools for all six years, and study both differences in means and in quantiles. Our results on achievement gaps between black and white students are consistent with those from other longitudinal studies: the gaps are sizable, are robust to controls for measures of socioeconomic status, and show no monotonic trend between 3rd and 8th grade. In contrast, both Hispanic and Asian students tend to gain on whites as they progress through these grades. Looking beyond simple mean differences, we find that the racial gaps in math between low-performing students have tended to shrink as students progress through school, while racial gaps between high-performing students have widened for black and American Indian students.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12207.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Publication status: published as Charles T Clotfelter & Helen F Ladd & Jacob L Vigdor, 2009. "The Academic Achievement Gap in Grades 3 to 8," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 398-419, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12207

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  1. Alan Krueger & Jesse Rothstein & Sarah Turner, 2005. "Race, Income, and College in 25 Years: The Continuing Legacy of Segregation and Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 11445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Teacher-Student Matching and the Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
  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. 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.
  5. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2005. "The Black-White Test Score Gap Through Third Grade," NBER Working Papers 11049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Luis Locay & Tracy Regan & Arthur M. Diamond Jr., 2008. "The Effects of Spanish-Language Background on Completed Schooling and Aptitude Test Scores," Working Papers 0909, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 2009. "Harming the best: How schools affect the black-white achievement gap," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(3), pages 366-393.
  3. Wong, Maisy, 2013. "Estimating the Distortionary Effects of Ethnic Quotas in Singapore Using Housing Transactions," MPRA Paper 51217, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S. High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 370-422, June.
  5. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 18701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt & Erin Robertson & Sally Sadoff, 2013. "What Can Be Done to Improve Struggling High Schools?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 133-52, Spring.

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