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Math and Reading Achievement Gaps – New Insights to Old Problems

The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children

ISBN: 978-1-78052-074-2, eISBN: 978-1-78052-075-9

Publication date: 5 August 2011


Purpose – This chapter focuses on the family and school influences on the achievement gaps in math and reading by gender, race, and nativity.

Methodology – With the longitudinal data from the National Education Longitudinal Studies, this chapter uses panel data technique to model for the changes of the achievement from the three time points of observation, 8th grade, 10th grade, and 12th grade. This study proposes the concept of “low-level constrained curriculum” to characterize the curriculum structure that leads to the universal low level of course taking among students within the same school.

Findings – The analysis shows that this kind of curriculum structure has the most damaging effect on individual students' math achievement outcomes. For the analysis on parental involvement, the results show that school involvement is more effective than home involvement for math achievement, but not for reading. Domain-specific parental involvement is more important than general parental involvement for both math and reading. These findings have important theoretical and policy implications.



Ma, Y. (2011), "Math and Reading Achievement Gaps – New Insights to Old Problems", Bass, L.E. and Kinney, D.A. (Ed.) The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 51-74.



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