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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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Brain Race

Brain Race

International Achievement Gaps and Educational Deficits

(p.233) 7 Brain Race
The Anatomy of Achievement Gaps

Jaekyung Lee

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the question of international achievement gaps in terms of globality. How well do US students fare against peers in other developed countries? What key family and school factors account for international achievement gaps? A comparison of the math achievement trajectory between the United States and other nations shows that American students learn less than East Asian counterparts during middle school years and that the gap is attributable to between-country differences in the learning environment (e.g., curriculum standards, teacher quality, student engagement). A comparison of social achievement gaps in the United States and Korea shows that the two countries have similarly large achievement gaps between high- and low-socioeconomic (SES) students but different inequality mechanisms. In Korea, family SES tends to affect students’ achievement gaps primarily through differential private tutoring opportunities, whereas American family SES tends to affect students’ achievement gap primarily through differential schooling opportunities and teacher quality.

Keywords:   globality, comparative education, international achievement gap, family effects, school effects, private tutoring, teacher quality, Korean education

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