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Center for the Study of Curriculum Science Excellence Gaps in the United States Nathan Burroughs with Leland Cogan.

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Presentation on theme: "Center for the Study of Curriculum Science Excellence Gaps in the United States Nathan Burroughs with Leland Cogan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Center for the Study of Curriculum Science Excellence Gaps in the United States Nathan Burroughs with Leland Cogan

2 Center for the Study of Curriculum Defining an “excellence gap” 2 ways of looking at it:  lower performance of the highest achievers within a given subgroup  Underrepresentation of a subgroup among the highest performers

3 Center for the Study of Curriculum 2 Reasons to Worry About Excellence Gaps in Science  Reason #1: Human Capital  Economic growth is dependent both on average educational quality AND the knowledge of “high flyers.” (Hanushek & Woessman 2007)  Note that the % of disadvantaged students is increasing.

4 Center for the Study of Curriculum Over 40,000 “missing” Black and Hispanic S&E graduates every year. BachelorsPhDs Resident242,23513,880 Non-Resident10,27910,857 Black & Hispanic34,0871,203 Blacks & Hispanics if proportional to population share77,0314,414 “Hard” Science & Engineering Graduates in 2009 Blacks & Hispanics make up nearly a third of 18-24 year olds, but only 14% of resident S&E Bachelors and 9% of PhDs. #’s above don’t consider under-representation of low- income or female students.

5 Center for the Study of Curriculum  Reason #2: Moral  The excellence gap is evidence for inequality of opportunity.  Reinforcing background inequalities is a paradigmatic instance of injustice. 2 Reasons to Worry About Excellence Gaps in Science

6 Center for the Study of Curriculum Evidence for science excellence gaps in the U.S. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) demonstrates excellence gaps along class and racial lines of two to three grade levels.

7 Center for the Study of Curriculum Gaps at the 90 th Percentile Grade 4Grade 8Grade 12 Poor176175 Non-poor199198199 White198 199 Black168167166 Hispanic173 176 SES Gap23 24 White-Black Gap323133 White-Hispanic Gap25 23

8 Center for the Study of Curriculum Joint Effects of Race and Class Grade 4Grade 8Grade 12 White poor186 185 White non-poor201199200 Black poor161160158 Black non-poor179176175 Hispanic poor167168169 Hispanic non-poor185183181 White poor Gap151315 Black poor Gap403942 Black non-poor Gap222325 Hispanic poor Gap3431 Hispanic non-poor Gap16 19 Reference category for gaps is White non-poor performance.

9 Center for the Study of Curriculum Trends in the Science Excellence Gap  Difficult to say because the new 2009 science framework complicates direct comparisons.  Two approaches using standard deviations:  Same grade over time  Cohorts

10 Center for the Study of Curriculum Gaps May be Shrinking A Little… Major subgroup gaps over time.

11 Center for the Study of Curriculum …Or They Might Not Grade 4Grade 8Grade 12 SES Gap0.680.630.66 White-Black Gap0.860.870.94 White-Hispanic Gap0.730.690.66 White poor Gap0.440.390.44 Black poor Gap1.131.141.20 Black non-poor Gap0.610.670.72 Hispanic poor Gap0.980.890.87 Hispanic non-poor Gap0.46 0.55 Detailed subgroup gaps in 2009 by grade level.

12 Center for the Study of Curriculum A Gender Gap Too MaleFemaleGap 4th Grade1941913 8th Grade1951887 12th Grade1981908

13 Center for the Study of Curriculum States as Policy Laboratories Feds have a growing role in education policy, but still mainly the responsibility of states. States are increasingly centralizing their control of schools. Considerable variation among states in the magnitude of excellence gaps.

14 Center for the Study of Curriculum State science achievement strongly related to race & class.

15 Center for the Study of Curriculum Combined SES & Racial Excellence Gaps Blue: Below US Average Red: Above US Average

16 Center for the Study of Curriculum Exploring which (if any) state policies mitigate excellence gaps.  Examining 4 th and 8 th grade gaps by SES, White-Black, and White-Hispanic.  Extant data (NAGC survey, other sources)  Regression equation controls for state GINI coefficient, share of group of interest, state per capita income

17 Center for the Study of Curriculum Potential Approaches for Reducing the Excellence Gap  Teacher quality  Curriculum  Monitoring  Mandates  And, of course, $ Results suggested a few might help, although effects are generally small.

18 Center for the Study of Curriculum Policies associated with smaller SES excellence gaps  Share of school districts with gifted-education administrators  Requirement of certification for gifted- education teachers  Dedicated gifted-education funding  State approval of district gifted-education plans

19 Center for the Study of Curriculum Policies associated with smaller White- Black excellence gaps  State mandates to identify, serve and fund gifted students  Share of school districts with gifted- education administrators  Share of teachers with gifted-education PD/staff development

20 Center for the Study of Curriculum What about content? State-level analysis suggested that if anything higher standards resulted in larger gaps. Tracking? Concentration of high quality teacher/resources in advantaged districts?

21 Center for the Study of Curriculum District-level analysis  Most of the action in education still takes place at the school district level.  PROM/SE study: NSF-funded project to improve math and science achievement through fashioning a more coherent curriculum.

22 Center for the Study of Curriculum Mean Number of Science Courses in 16 Districts

23 Center for the Study of Curriculum  In a few PROM/SE districts, there were enough black and white students to examine gaps within districts, although not excellence gaps per se.  Surveyed teachers on what science topics they covered = combined into a general measure of intra-district content variation. Controlled for proportion of minority & free and reduced meal eligible students. Insights from PROM/SE

24 Center for the Study of Curriculum On PROM/SE science assessment, districts with greater variation in coverage of science topics had larger achievement gaps. Parameter Estimate Robust Standard Errors Pr > |t| Standardized Estimate Intercept-0.3981.9610.8450.000 StDev Topic Coverage2.3810.5730.0040.610 % Disadvantaged-0.1220.0450.031-0.594 Adj. R-Squared 0.385 Insights from PROM/SE

25 Center for the Study of Curriculum Final Thoughts  Large excellence gaps by race, class, gender.  Racial and SES gaps are distinct problems.  State and district policies may reduce these gaps.  There’s still a lot we don’t know.

26 Center for the Study of Curriculum Acknowledgments  Jonathan Plucker, Indiana University  William Schmidt, Phil Babcock, Michigan State University  National Science Foundation


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