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ERIC Number: ED566971
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 20
Geographic Variation of District-Level Gender Achievement Gaps within the United States
Reardon, Sean; Fahle, Erin; Kalogrides, Demetra; Podolsky, Anne; Zarate, Rosalia
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Gender achievement gaps on national and state assessments have been a popular research topic over the last few decades. Many prior studies examine these gaps in different subjects (e.g., mathematics, reading, and science) and grades (typically kindergarten through eighth grade) for students living in various regions (typically states or countries) using a variety of measures. Despite drawing different conclusions about the exact magnitude of the gaps, the general findings about the existence of gender achievement gaps from prior research are consistent. In mathematics, the majority of studies do not find a significant achievement gap when children enter kindergarten, but show the existence of an average male-favoring gap in mathematics by the end of kindergarten lasting through fifth grade. In this paper, the authors seek to better understand the variation of gender achievement gaps within the United States by focusing at a higher geographic resolution than prior studies. They analyze gender achievement gaps within school districts across the nation. Given the evidence of the state-level variation and the support for suspecting that gender achievement gaps vary amongst districts within a state, the authors investigate how local social and economic factors, local demographics, and school district characteristics may relate to the magnitude and direction of gender achievement gaps, with a specific focus on the extent to which the gaps appear in a "stereotypical" or "gender-favoring" pattern. The data used in this study comes from the EdFacts state accountability tracking system, which was provided via restricted license by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The population of study is U.S. school districts serving third through eighth grade students. The EdFacts database includes data for all (approximately 13,700) public school districts in the US, and contains math and English Language Arts (ELA) test score data in grades 3-8 from 2009-2012. Among the roughly 9,400 districts in the sample, the average gender achievement gap in mathematics is near 0, although there is considerable variation across districts. In contrast, the average gap in ELA is roughly 0.25 Standard Deviations (SDs), in favor of girls. Again there is significant variation in the district-level gaps; however, they nearly always favor females. Plotting these gaps, it was found that there is considerable variation among districts along both the gender-favoring and stereotype dimensions. Figures and tables are appended.
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 5; Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)