Disentangling the racial test score gap: Probing the evidence in a large urban school district

Leanna Stiefel, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

We examine the size and distribution of the gap in test scores across races within New York City public schools and the factors that explain these gaps. While gaps are partially explained by differences in student characteristics, such as poverty, differences in schools attended are also important. At the same time, substantial within-school gaps remain and are only partly explained by differences in academic preparation across students from different race groups. Controlling for differences in classrooms attended explains little of the remaining gap, suggesting little role for within-school inequities in resources. There is some evidence that school characteristics matter. Race gaps are negatively correlated with school size - implying small schools may be helpful. In addition, the trade-off between the size and experience of the teaching staff in urban schools may carry unintended consequences for within-school race gaps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-30
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Policy Analysis and Management
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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