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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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Bell Curve

Bell Curve

Achievement and Environment Gaps Among Racial and Ethnic Groups

(p.97) 3 Bell Curve
The Anatomy of Achievement Gaps

Jaekyung Lee

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the questions of a racial gap in the academic achievement trajectory in terms of equity. How do academic growth patterns vary among racial and ethnic groups within the United States? What key family and school factors account for racial achievement gaps over the course of P-12 education? The analysis of longitudinal student assessment data shows that black and Hispanic students lag behind white students, who in turn trail Asian-American students. Overall, school factors do not contribute as much to racial achievement gaps as family factors. However, switching the reference group from whites to Asian-American students not only enlarges the size of relative achievement gaps for blacks and Hispanics, but also weakens the relative importance of family SES as an explanatory factor of underachievement; racial gaps in academic engagement and school opportunities become more salient. The issues of racial gaps in educational adequacy and reciprocity are also examined.

Keywords:   equity, race, achievement gap, family effects, school effects, equality, adequacy, reciprocity

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