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The Evolution of the Black-White Test Score Gap in Grades K-3: The Fragility of Results

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  • Timothy N. Bond
  • Kevin Lang

Abstract

Although both economists and psychometricians typically treat them as interval scales, test scores are reported using ordinal scales. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study and the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey, we examine the effect of order-preserving scale transformations on the evolution of the black-white reading test score gap from kindergarten entry through third grade. Plausible transformations reverse the growth of the gap in the CNLSY and greatly mitigate it in the ECLS-K during early school years. All growth from entry through first grade and a nontrivial proportion from first to third grade probably reflects scaling decisions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17960.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Publication status: published as Timothy N. Bond & Kevin Lang, 2013. "The Evolution of the Black-White Test Score Gap in Grades K–3: The Fragility of Results," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1468-1479, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17960

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  1. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "The Importance of Segregation, Discrimination, Peer Dynamics, and Identity in Explaining Trends in the Racial Achievement Gap," NBER Working Papers 16257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Timothy N. Bond & Kevin Lang, 2013. "The Black-White Education-Scaled Test-Score Gap in Grades K-7," NBER Working Papers 19243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Timothy N. Bond & Kevin Lang, 2014. "The Sad Truth About Happiness Scales," NBER Working Papers 19950, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Douglas O. Staiger, 2012. "Knowledge, Tests, and Fadeout in Educational Interventions," NBER Working Papers 18038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Moshe Justman & Brendan Houng, 2013. "A Comparison Of Two Methods For Estimating School Effects And Tracking Student Progress From Standardized Test Scores," Working Papers 1316, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  5. Brendan Houng & Moshe Justman, 2013. "Comparing Least-Squares Value-Added Analysis and Student Growth Percentile Analysis for Evaluating Student Progress and Estimating School Effects," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n07, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

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