The gap as referred to in the title, is the distribution of the scores on achievement tests that differ between black and white students in the United States. The purpose of this study was to record the degree of the gap in achievement scores, decide how much of the racial gap is due to social-class, how the gap differed in the 30-year period, and how that which is credited to the social-class has changed over the years. Differences in social-class, family structure, and discrimination against blacks as a disgraced group are all proposed causes for the black-white gap in test scores.
If the gap is caused by a difference in social-class or family structure, then when the social-class and family structure are controlled, the gap should decline or disappear. In researching these theories, the authors answered four questions. 1. How are the distributions of the scores of white and black Unites States high school seniors on achievement tests different? Answer: The authors used several indices including central tendency, variability, and the proportion of each group scoring high or low. 2.
Since social-class and opportunity structures are part of the source of scores on achievement tests, how much of these gaps is a result of differences between blacks and whites in social-class? Answer: The authors compared the degree of the gaps before and after they adjusted for social-class. 3. How have the gaps changed over time? Answer: The authors calculated the gaps from data in cross sections over a 30-year period and studied the trend over time. 4. Is the portion of each gap that is independent of social-class changing over time?
Answer: Yes, the authors contrasted the rate of change over time in the social-class-adjusted gaps. These surveys give convincing evidence that the gaps have decreased over time, but are still widely spread. The authors conclude that it would take over 50 years to close the gap in reading achievement scores and over a century to close the gap in mathematics and science achievement scores. The adjusted gaps for social-class, family structure, and community variables were closing from 1965-1992. At this rate of change over the entire period, they would close in the same amount of time as the unadjusted gaps.
The rate of change for the unadjusted gaps seem to have reversed after 1972. These results do not give a lot of support to the theory that the gaps in average test scores are caused by the differences in social-class and family structure. Thus, it supports the theory that the gaps in test scores are an outcome of other factors, such as discrimination. Conclusively, the data in this study suggests that eliminating social-class differences would not close the gap in achievement, since group differences remain concrete after adjustment for social-class.
This data suggests that even after doing away with social-class differences would still leave blacks severely underrepresented among all that score high on achievement tests. This study should appeal to the interests of all people who seek to learn and understand more about the differences between blacks and whites scores on achievement tests. It should encourage the students that score in the lower percentiles to do better. Thus raising the scores and working to close the gap that has existed between black and white students in the United States for too long.