When does inequality grow? A seasonal analysis of racial/ethnic disparities in learning in kindergarten through eighth grade
By: Megan Kuhfeld, Dennis Condron, Douglas Downey
What role does schooling play in the development of racial/ethnic inequalities in academic skills? Seasonal learning studies, which allow researchers to compare the growth of achievement gaps when school is in versus out of session, provide important evidence on whether schools reproduce or exacerbate educational inequalities. However, most existing seasonal studies have been restricted to the early grades, limiting our understanding of the relationship between schooling and inequality in the later grades. In this study, we examine seasonal patterns of racial/ethnic achievement gaps in kindergarten through eighth grade using a national sample of over two million students. We find that the Black-White achievement gaps widen during school years and shrink during summers, whereas Asian students generally pull ahead of Whites at a faster rate during summers than during school years. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings in relation to the broader literature on schools and educational inequalitiesSee More
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Using achievement data from fall and spring of grades K-8 for 840,000 students in 8,800 public schools, this study provides novel evidence on how achievement and growth differ between rural and nonrural schools. Rural students start kindergarten slightly ahead of nonrural students but fall behind by middle school. The divergence is driven by larger summer losses for rural students. In both rural and nonrural schools, Black–White achievement gaps widen during the school year.
Schools as refractors: Change in variance in children’s cognitive skills change while in school versus out
How does schooling affect inequality in students’ academic skills? This study uses seasonal comparisons to examine the possibilities that schooling exacerbates, reduces, or reproduces overall skill inequality in math, reading, language use, and science with recent national data on US public school students spanning numerous grade levels from the NWEA MAP Growth assessment. Results suggest that schooling has a compensatory effect on inequality in reading, language, and science skills but not math skills. Theoretical implications of findings are discussed.
By: Dennis Condron, Megan Kuhfeld, Douglas Downery
Black and poor students are suspended from U.S. schools at higher rates than White and nonpoor students. While the existence of these disparities has been clear, the causes have not. By comparing the punishments given to Black and White (or poor and nonpoor) students who fight one another, the study addresses a challenge that has kept prior studies from identifying discrimination in student discipline. It finds that Black and poor students are punished more harshly than the students with whom they fight.
By: Nathan Barrett, Andrew McEachin, Jonathan Mills, Jon Valant
To what extent did COVID-19 disruptions affect student achievement in 2020-2021, and which students have been most affected? New NWEA research aims to provide insight to inform leaders working to support recovery: using data from 5.5 million students in grades 3-8 who took MAP Growth assessments in reading and math, this brief examines how gains across the 2020-21 school year and student achievement in spring 2021 compare to pre-pandemic trends.
Technical appendix for: Learning during COVID-19: Reading and math achievement in the 2020-2021 school year
The purpose of this technical appendix is to share more detailed results and to describe more fully the sample and methods used in the research included in the brief, Learning during COVID-19: Reading and math achievement in the 2020-21 school year.
Two research questions were investigated in this brief:
1. How do gains across the 2020-21 school year compare to pre-pandemic trends?
2. How does student achievement in spring of 2021 compare to pre-pandemic levels?
This study investigated test-taking engagement on a large-scale state summative assessment. Overall, results of this study indicate that disengagement has a material impact on individual state summative test scores, though its impact on score aggregations may be relatively minor.
Transforming education through COVID-19 recovery and learning acceleration: research findings, policy recommendations, and lessons from the ground
In this webinar offered in partnership by the Alliance for Excellent Education, NWEA, the National Urban League, and Unidos US, learn about new NWEA research on academic trends of students during the past school year compared to a more typical school year, what these findings suggest about widening education inequality, recommendations for states and districts on how to use recent federal aid to transform education for historically underserved students, and the perspective a a district leader on what their district is doing to support students as they return to school.