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Closing the Gap One School at a Time


"Things finally seemed to be moving in the right direction. After years of wide, persistent gaps between the performance of black and white students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the 1970s saw the beginning of a turnaround. The gap began to narrow, and this trend continued through most of the 1980s...

But data released in September 2000 show very different trends from those that seemed apparent just a few years earlier. While overall scores have increased in reading and mathematics, the differences in scores for black and white students in virtually every NAEP subject area and for every age group are greater than they were in the late 1980s. Perhaps even more disturbing, these gaps seem to be getting wider each year. Even when researchers control for socioeconomic status, level of parental education, and other factors that contribute to scholastic achievement, the score gap between white and black students persists, and no one is really sure why."