ERIC Number: EJ863082
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
An Empirical Test of Five Prominent Explanations for the Black-White Academic Performance Gap
Oates, Gary L. St. C.
Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, v12 n4 p415-441 Dec 2009
The viability of five prominent explanations for the black-white performance gap ("academic engagement," "cultural capital," "social capital," "school quality" and "biased treatment") is examined using NELS data and a LISREL model that adjusts for clustering of students within schools. Empirical models have typically assessed these factors "individually"--a practice that probably fosters overestimation of their explanatory power. School quality and biased treatment emerge as the primary explanations for black-white high school test performance differentials. Access to better-quality schools and receipt of more stimulating interpersonal "signals" from gatekeepers ensue from racial (and socioeconomic) privilege. Enhanced test performance in turn ensues from these resources. In essence, the explanations for the racial gap that place more emphasis on what black and white students "bring to" high school (i.e., specific levels of engagement, cultural and social capital), seem less consequential to performance differentials than "what happens to" them when they get there (i.e., quality of education provided, and race-contingent treatment received).
Descriptors: Race, Academic Achievement, Social Capital, White Students, African American Students, Achievement Gap, Cultural Capital, Educational Quality, Learner Engagement, High School Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A