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ERIC Number: ED529417
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
The Relationships among Achievement, Low Income, and Ethnicity in Washington State--A Second Look. Technical Report
Abbott, Martin; Hart, Christopher; Lybrand, Jasmine; Nouri, Leila
Washington School Research Center
The purpose of this report is to discuss the continuing difficulties school leaders and students face as they grapple with the "achievement gap" among students of different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Several years ago, researchers at the Washington School Research Center sought to evaluate the "unique contribution of low income and ethnicity to academic achievement" (Abbott & Joireman, 2001) in Washington State. This current report is a replication of the 2001 study, which used data from the 2000 school year. The authors analyzed 2008 data to note any changes in the relationships among ethnicity, low income and achievement Washington. The 2001 report concluded that the percentage of low-income students by schools was much more predictive of achievement than school-level ethnic proportion. In the present study, the authors included school-level reading and math achievement as the outcome measures to parallel the 2001 report. Their analyses focused on the impact of ethnicity and low income on achievement, as well as the relationship all study variables. The analyses they present in this study are based on aggregated school-level data in 2008 available from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington State. The data from 2008 grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 support the conclusion that low income explains a much larger percentage of the variance in academic achievement than ethnicity. As noted in the 2001 report, the authors do not conclude that ethnicity is unrelated to academic achievement; rather it is a much less powerful predictor of achievement when low income is included in the analyses. Specifically, they affirm the 2001 finding that "the relationship between ethnicity and academic achievement is mostly indirect: ethnicity relates to low income, and low income in turn relates to academic achievement" (Abbott & Joireman, 2001). Another 2001 finding supported by their analyses is that, "while low income and ethnicity together explained a relatively high percentage of the variance in most of the outcome measures, a sizable percentage of the variance in achievement scores could not be accounted for by these variables" (Abbott & Joireman, 2001). In the present study, 20% to 47% of the variance in reading and math achievement across all the study grades was unexplained by low income and ethnicity as a set. This calls for subsequent analyses that might identify other influences on achievement that might clarify the low income--ethnicity relationships. Using "Percent White" as Ethnicity is appended. (Contains 3 tables, 4 figures and 4 footnotes.) [For the previous report, "The Relationships among Achievement, Low Income, and Ethnicity across Six Groups of Washington State Students. Technical Report #1," see ED454356.]
Washington School Research Center. 3307 Third Avenue West Suite 210, Seattle, WA 98119. Tel: 206-378-5377; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 10; Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 5; Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Seattle Pacific Univ., Lynnwood, WA. Washington School Research Center.
Identifiers - Location: Washington