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Harming the Best: How Schools Affect the Black-White Achievement Gap

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  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • Steven G. Rivkin

Abstract

Sizeable achievement differences by race appear in early grades, but substantial uncertainty exists about the impact of school quality on the black-white achievement gap and particularly about its evolution across different parts of the achievement distribution. Texas administrative data show that the overall growth in the achievement gap between third and eighth grade is higher for students with higher initial achievement and that specific teacher and peer characteristics including teacher experience and peer racial composition explain a substantial share of the widening. The adverse effect of attending school with a high black enrollment share appears to be an important contributor to the larger growth in the achievement differential in the upper part of the test score distribution. This evidence reaffirms the major role played by peers and school quality, but also presents a policy dilemma. Teacher labor market complications, current housing patterns, legal limits in segregation efforts, and uncertainty about the overall effects of specific desegregation programs indicate that effective policy responses will almost certainly involve a set of school improvements beyond simple changes in peer racial composition and the teacher experience distribution.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14211.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14211.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14211

Note: CH ED LS PE
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References

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Kevin Lang, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1613-1634, December.
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  4. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 6691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 2006. "School Quality and the Black-White Achievement Gap," NBER Working Papers 12651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
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  14. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2005. "Does school accountability lead to improved student performance?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 297-327.
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  25. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "Inferring Program Effects for Special Populations: Does Special Education Raise Achievement for Students with Disabilities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 584-599, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 18701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2013. "The Importance of Rank Position," CEP Discussion Papers dp1241, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Diette, Timothy M. & Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2013. "Gender and Race Heterogeneity: The Impact of Increases in Students with Limited English on Native Students' Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 7856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  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 Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2014. "Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank," CESifo Working Paper Series 4815, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. McMullen, Steven C. & Rouse, Kathryn E., 2012. "School crowding, year-round schooling, and mobile classroom use: Evidence from North Carolina," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 812-823.
  7. Natalia Zinovyeva & Florentino Felgueroso & Pablo Vazquez, 2014. "Immigration and student achievement in Spain: evidence from PISA," SERIEs, Spanish Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 25-60, March.
  8. Antecol, Heather & Eren, Ozkan & Ozbeklik, Serkan, 2013. "Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7694, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Diette, Timothy M. & Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2012. "Do Significant Immigrant Inflows Create Negative Education Impacts? Lessons from the North Carolina Public School System," IZA Discussion Papers 6561, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Natalia Zinovyeva & Florentino Felgueroso & Pablo Vazquez Vega, 2008. "Immigration and Students' Achievement in Spain," Working Papers 2008-37, FEDEA.

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