Do 3rd Grade Math Scores Determine Students’ Futures? A Statewide Analysis of College Readiness and the Income Achievement Gap
55 Pages Posted: 29 May 2014 Last revised: 12 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 11, 2014
This study explores the relationship between large, early income-achievement gaps and subsequent low rates of college readiness in mathematics among low-income high school students. Within-school course taking patterns in math are examined for the same students from 3rd through 12th grade, conditional on previous grade math scores and socioeconomic status, using detailed, statewide longitudinal data. The study asks the following at each grade level: i) are advanced classes identifiable within schools; ii) conditional on previous scores, do students in these classes advance faster; and iii) conditional on previous scores, are these classes more likely to be assigned to one group than another? Together, the findings indicate that, in terms of college readiness opportunities, it is better to be a low-performing high-income student than a high-performing low-income student, at every grade level, and that the share of students in each of these categories is quite large in most schools.
Keywords: achievement gap, college readiness, equity, educational opportunity, income achievement, advanced courses, advanced math, test score growth, tracking, gifted education, gifted program, teacher value added, state longitudinal data, slds, administrative data, descriptive analysis, socioeconomic status
JEL Classification: C81, D63, H75, I21, J24
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