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Schools and Educational Outcomes: What Causes the “Race Gap” in Student Test Scores?

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Objective.

African-American and Hispanic students often have lower test scores than white students at all levels of education. In this article, we examine whether school factors impact racial groups differentially, helping reduce the test score gaps, and whether school policies benefit one racial group at the expense of another. Methods.

The data is individual-level data from a school district in California. Multivariate analysis (FGLS) is used to study the effect of school factors and race on test scores, after controlling for individual and school attributes. Results.

School factors have a small differential effect by race on test scores. The school policies that have a positive influence on minorities' scores often involve an environment where closer attention is paid to the needs of students. Conclusion.

Most school policies have a small effect on test scores, impacting all racial groups in a similar manner, without redistributing benefits across groups.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Michigan State University; 2: California Institute of Technology.

Publication date: 01 September 2003

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