The Geography of Racial/Ethnic Test Score Gaps
96 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2017
Date Written: January 4, 2017
We estimate racial/ethnic achievement gaps in several hundred metropolitan areas and several thousand school districts in the United States using the results of roughly 200 million standardized math and reading tests administered to public school students from 2009-2013. We show that achievement gaps vary substantially, ranging from nearly 0 in some places to larger than 1.2 standard deviations in others. Economic, demographic, segregation and schooling characteristics explain roughly three-quarters of the geographic variation in these gaps. The strongest correlates of achievement gaps are local racial/ethnic differences in parental income, local average parental education levels, and patterns of racial/ethnic segregation, consistent with a theoretical model in which family socioeconomic factors affect educational opportunity partly though residential and school segregation patterns.
Keywords: Achievement Gaps, Segregation, Socioeconomic Inequality
JEL Classification: I24
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