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Trends in the Black-White Achievement Gap:Clarifying the Meaning of Within- and Between-School Achievement Gaps

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  • Lindsay C. Page
  • Richard J. Murnane
  • John B. Willett

Abstract

We decompose black-white achievement gap trends between 1971 and 2004 into trends in within- and between-school differences. We show that the previous finding that narrowing within-school inequality explains most of the decline in the black-white achievement gap between 1971 and 1988 is sensitive to methodology. Employing a more detailed partition of achievement differences, we estimate that 40 percent of the narrowing of the gap through the 1970s and 1980s is attributable to the narrowing of within-school differences between black and white students. Further, the consequences for achievement of attending a high minority school became increasingly deleterious between 1971 and 1999.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindsay C. Page & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2008. "Trends in the Black-White Achievement Gap:Clarifying the Meaning of Within- and Between-School Achievement Gaps," NBER Working Papers 14213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14213
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard J. Murnane & Lindsay Page & Emiliana Vegas, 2010. "Distribution of Student Achievement in Chile : Baseline Analysis for the Evaluation of the Subvención Escolar Preferencial," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12739, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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