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ERIC Number: ED567029
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Trajectories of Exposure to Racial School Segregation and the Transition to College
Warkentien, Siri
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
The "Brown v. Board of Education" decision ruled racial school segregation unconstitutional over 60 years ago. Although widespread desegregation followed initially, the past several decades have seen increasing resegregation, as evidenced by a decreasing proportion of black students in the average white students' schools and an increasing percentage of black students attending predominantly minority schools (Reardon & Owens, 2014). Understanding of the consequences of exposure to school segregation is limited by the fact that most studies of the impacts of school racial composition on student outcomes measure exposure to black- or minority-concentrated schools at a single point in time. This characterization is problematic because it ignores the possibility that students can experience different patterns of exposure to school segregation over time that may affect educational consequences. Even if students experience the same conditions of segregated schools over a number of years, it ignores the possibility that the duration of exposure matters. Because of these limitations, snapshot measures cannot yield a full understanding of how exposure to racial school segregation affects students. This study examines the effect of different trajectories of exposure to school segregation during middle and high school on postsecondary education outcomes. The author focuses on the consequences of experiencing different timing, duration, and stability of exposure to black-segregated schools on enrollment in a 2- or 4-year college and completion of a 2- or 4-year degree. The study defines segregated schools in this way because of the historical importance and contemporary relevance of black segregation. Although unequal educational opportunities between black and white students drove the "Brown" decision, residential and educational isolation continues to be more pronounced for black students than other minority students (Logan, Stults, & Farley, 2004; Orfield & Lee, 2005). Historic and current racial inequalities in this country mean that predominantly black schools on average have fewer school resources, less qualified teachers, higher proportions of economically disadvantaged students, and lower average academic achievement--all factors detrimental for educational outcomes (Logan et al., 2012; Rumberger & Palardy, 2005). The analyses presented here provide evidence regarding the role racial school composition during secondary school has on the probability of enrolling in and completing college, and indicate that student composition should remain a topic for education policy. Student assignment and choice policies that create and maintain integrated schools may be an additional avenue for policymakers and practitioners to leverage in efforts to increase college-going and completion rates. Tables are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges; Higher Education
Audience: Policymakers; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth