Your Lying Eyes

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26 March 2010

More NAEP Results - Racial Gap Over Time

Standardized aptitude tests in the U.S. almost always show a black/white gap of approximately 1 standard deviation. You see it consistently on the SAT's if you go to the College Board site and look up their reports. And it's pretty reliably found on IQ tests. The NAEP isn't quite this consistent, but in the general ballpark. Notably, the gap in Reading scores is less - more in the range of 0.8 to 0.9 s.d. The math scores have been in the 1 s.d. ballpark, usually a bit higher. I'd expect math score gaps to be more in the general aptitude range as math success seems more innate to me than reading. Interestingly, reading would seem to be the subject where you'd have more cultural bias and thus prone to larger gaps, but that's not how it is at all.

The Good News: The gap has been narrowing over the last two decades. Not dramatically, and not consistently by grade, but the clear trend is a narrowing. This has also been accompanied by a steady though slow increase in overall scores as well.

Math Results

Now don't get too excited without looking at the graph scale - the origin is a 0.9, and last year's results fell at about 1 standard deviation, which is about where the SAT's typically fall year-after-year. That may be it as far as improvement - maybe a few hundredths improvement from here on out.

The Reading Gaps are lower, but the improvements not so dramatic:

Now I'm a little concerned about the low gaps in 1990/92 and then the big jumps in the mid-90's - not sure what was going on there, and what might have changed. Looking at the scores themselves, there was a big jump in whites' math scores from '90 to '92 and a big drop in blacks' reading scores '92 to '94. It concerns me because I don't know what this implies about the reliability of these numbers from year-to-year, but otherwise there is a consistency that's reassuring.

The 12th grade scores gaps are more inconsistent, and this is consistent with the scores themselves, which are very jumpy. Perhaps coverage at this grade level is very inconsistent in the NAEP sampling.


Blogger Steve Sailer said...

Dropouts are a big problem with 12th grade NAEPs -- lots of kids are already dropped out.

March 27, 2010 3:55 AM  

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