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ERIC Number: ED480878
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Apr
Pages: 36
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Investigating the Achievement Gap between White and Minority Students in Texas: Should We Be Concerned about a Ceiling Effect on the TAAS?
Linton, Thomas H.; Kester, Donald; Cassidy, Jack
The purpose of this study was to investigate the achievement gap between minority and white students by analyzing 1996 and 2000 reading and mathematics scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) at grades 5, 8, and 10. The focus was on score increases, the achievement gap between white and minority students, and whether or not a ceiling effect artificially restricts the distribution of students scores on the TAAS. A causal-comparative research design was used to analyze the variables in the study using data for all Texas students in the Texas Education Agency accountability subset of TAAS scores in 1996 and 2000. The large gains found in this and other studies on the TAAS tests, which are minimum skills tests tailored to the Texas reading and mathematics curricula, have not been substantiated by other test results, such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress. While an explanation of these differences is beyond the score of this research, it is suggested that teaching to the TAAS is widespread and pervasive in Texas schools, and that the fact that Texas teachers and principals are evaluated based on students TAAS scores contributes to the tendency to teach to the test. TAAS data form 2000 show that the differences between white and minority students scores had decreased in comparison with 1996. However, since a larger percentage of white students than minority students achieved the maximum score on the test (the test ceiling), white students scores likely underestimated their true achievement level. The ceiling effect artificially restricted the scores of white students and created the illusion that the achievement gap has been lessened. Because the test ceiling has differentially affected the scores for White, Hispanic, and African American students, the TAAS results cannot be used to determine whether or not the achievement gap has been narrowed. Implications for other states and testing programs are discussed. (Contains 14 tables and 10 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Texas Assessment of Academic Skills