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The Anatomy of Achievement GapsWhy and How American Education is Losing (but can still Win) the War on Underachievement$
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Jaekyung Lee

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190217648

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217648.001.0001

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Education Battle

Education Battle

Trends of Academic Achievement and Educational Environment

(p.67) 2 Education Battle
The Anatomy of Achievement Gaps

Jaekyung Lee

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the questions of achievement trends in terms of excellence. How did academic growth trajectories change over the past four decades? What changes in environmental factors influenced these trends? Analysis of cross-cohort achievement trends reveals a tripartite pattern in which American students are gaining ground at the pre-/early primary school level, holding ground at the middle school level, and losing ground at the high school level. The problem of underachievement is evident in discrepancies between the flat National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) achievement trend and the upward IQ score trend. The analysis of educational environment trends over the same period shows mixed progress, but the expected academic growth potential was not realized. Academic gains induced by positive changes in some areas have been offset by negative changes or status quo in other areas (e.g., family support, school climate, teacher quality and standards for student performance).

Keywords:   excellence, achievement trend, promotive factors, risk factors, achievement gap, NAEP, IQ, family effects, school effects

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