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Friday, September 25, 2015

New NCES Study Examines Black-White Achievement Gap

the National Center for Education Statistics

September 24, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.--A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released today finds that the grade 8 mathematics achievement of Black and White students is lower, on average, in public schools with a higher percentage of Black students than in schools with lower percentages of Black students.

The report, School Composition and the Black-White Achievement Gap, explores the Black-White achievement gap as it relates to a school's demographic composition.

This report examined NAEP results from the 2011 grade 8 NAEP Mathematics assessment for public schools with two sets of analyses exploring the relationships between the percentage of Black students in school populations, student achievement, and the Black-White achievement gap. The report also builds on prior research on whether achievement gaps can be attributed to differences in student achievement within a school or between different schools.

"We know there are growing concerns over the resegregation of the nation's public schools, and this research sheds new light on the achievement gap and our understanding of the impact of school composition on student achievement," said Acting NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr.

"Even when we account for factors associated with higher achievement such as student socioeconomic status (SES) and other student, teacher, and school characteristics, we see that Black male student achievement is lower in schools with higher percentages of Black students."

The report found that, on average, White students attended schools that were 9 percent Black, while Black students attended schools that were 48 percent Black.

Achievement was lower for both Black and White students in schools with higher percentages of Black students (more than 40% Black student population), compared to the schools with lower percentages of Black students (less than 20% Black student population).

NCES also analyzed data to understand the extent to which the achievement gap could be attributed to between-school or within-school differences in student achievement; examining whether the achievement gap can be attributed more to differences within schools or between schools. This analysis was performed at both the national and state level and suggests the larger portion of the gap to be attributable to within school than between school differences.

The full text of the report is available at:


The National Center for Education Statistics, a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, is the statistical center of the U.S. Department of Education and the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation's Report Card ™, is a Congressionally authorized project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. NCES administers NAEP, and the Commissioner of Education Statistics is responsible by law for carrying out the NAEP project.

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