Black and Hispanic students posted much larger gains than white students over the past 40 years on the long-term National Assessment of Education Progress test, which I first wrote about on June 27, 2013.
“The improvement and gap closing is not just a theoretical possibility, but it is happening,” said Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, which advocates for closing the achievement gap. Haycock put together a great packet of slides and tables, precisely detailing the closing of the gap.
I’ll just highlight a few things here:
1) The White –Black score gaps in reading for 9- and 17-year-olds in 2012 were nearly half the size of the gaps in 1971. Nonetheless, the White-Black gap is still large. That is, whites are still scoring much higher than blacks are at each age (9, 13 and 17). The White-Black gap in math also narrowed, but not by nearly as much.
2) Haycock points out that minority progress has slowed and in some cases stalled in the past two decades. In her reading of the data, she said that the largest gains for minorities took place in the 70s and 80s, when new education initiatives and funding helped to bolster minority achievement. “We need to pick up the pace,” she said.
4) The math gender gap has disappeared for nine and 13 year olds. Boys are still stronger at math at age 17. But even that gap has narrowed because 17-year-old girls are posting stronger math scores.
3) Female superiority at reading still holds at every age (9, 13 and 17). But among nine year olds, the gender gap narrowed by more than half from 13 to 5 points, largely because nine year old boys are reading much better today than they were in 1971. There was no improvement in the gender gap for older ages.