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ERIC Number: ED542433
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Explaining the Black-White Achievement Gap in the Context of Family, Neighborhood, and School. FPG Snapshot #64
FPG Child Development Institute
In the United States, Black children start school behind their White peers on standardized reading and mathematics tests, and racial disparities in achievement increase during each subsequent year of primary and secondary education. To formulate an appropriate policy response to this enduring problem, a careful and comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to the achievement gap is needed. The "integrative model of development in context" is a framework that can help researchers explore ethnic or racial group differences in child development and achievement. The model considers ways in which social position, racism, and segregation influence children's experiences in the three crucial contexts of family, neighborhood, and school. Results showed that at the neighborhood and school levels, Black children lived in more disadvantaged neighborhoods and attended schools with a higher proportion of poor or minority students. In unadjusted models White children scored higher on average than Black children at all ages in reading and mathematics. The study's results provide further evidence regarding the long-term impacts of racism and differential treatment on the development of children of color in the U.S. and suggest the following policy implications: (1) Programs to address the achievement gap should begin early. Existing prekindergarten programs, while helpful, probably begin too late in children's development to prevent race differences in school achievement; (2) During the infant, toddler, and preschool years, programs should focus on both parenting skills and high-quality child care; and (3) During the school years, programs should emphasize improvements in instructional quality.
FPG Child Development Institute. University of North Carolina, Publications Office, CB# 8185, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8185. Tel: 919-966-0857; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, FPG Child Development Institute