Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'A permanent talent underclass': 'Excellence gap' among American students charted

Date:
October 22, 2013
Source:
University of Connecticut
Summary:
A new report finds that high-performing American students are disproportionately white and well-off.

The circle of high-achieving American students is becoming a preserve for the white and well-off, with potentially severe consequences for the country's promise of equal opportunity, according to a new report by UConn professor Jonathan Plucker and colleagues at two other universities.

"Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and the Persistence of America's Permanent Talent Underclass" examines the underreported problem of students from particular racial and socioeconomic backgrounds dominating the ranks of those who perform best on national assessment tests.

While a great deal of attention and resources have been focused on the achievement gap among students, which measures basic proficiency in subjects like math and reading, almost none have been devoted to the "excellence gap" at the highest achievement levels.

The report follows on an earlier study led by Plucker, which was issued in 2010. At the time, Plucker said there was the possibility that the excellence gap might narrow. The new data, however, show that the opposite has happened: the gap between white, relatively affluent students and their poorer, nonwhite classmates has only widened.

"The current study should crush anyone's optimism about the country's success in developing academic talent," says Plucker, professor of educational leadership in the Neag School of Education. "The data we explored for this report, along with a growing body of research, provide considerable evidence that America has a permanent talent underclass."

The report, which uses data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and state assessments, shows that while the percentage of white students scoring at the advanced level in Grade 4 mathematics increased from 2.9 percent to 9 percent between 1996 and 2011, the percentage of high-scoring black students barely budged, reaching 1.1 percent in 2011.

The changes in math scores based on economic background were even more dramatic, with students who were ineligible for free or reduced-price lunches improving from 3.1 percent in the advanced range in 1996 to 11.4 percent in 2011. Less affluent students, meanwhile, went from 0.3 percent scoring in the advanced range to 1.8 percent.

The report, which Plucker compiled along with DePauw University's Jacob Hardesty and Michigan State University's Nathan Burroughs, also tracked reading scores and compared high-achieving American students' performance to their international peers, a comparison that found U.S. students lagging.

The report also offers state-by-state comparisons, where the lack of non-white and poorer students among the highest achievers can be even more stark than the national average. In North Carolina, for example, the percentage of black students with advanced scores in Grade 4 math rounds to zero, while in Texas, an impressive 17 percent of more well-off students have advanced scores in that category, compared to just 3 percent of students who receive free or reduced-price lunches.

The report also contains policy recommendations, ranging from requiring states to include the performances of advanced students in accountability systems, to bringing federal resources -- which are now essentially non-existent for excellence education -- to bear. Closing the gap will also require an acknowledgement of the role childhood poverty plays in reducing many students' chance at a quality education.

"If the diversity of our school-age population isn't represented among our high-achieving students," says Plucker, "we can make the argument that we've failed to achieve either equity or excellence, with serious implications for America's future."

Report; http://cepa.uconn.edu/mindthegap/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Connecticut. The original article was written by Tom Breen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Connecticut. "'A permanent talent underclass': 'Excellence gap' among American students charted." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022113551.htm>.
University of Connecticut. (2013, October 22). 'A permanent talent underclass': 'Excellence gap' among American students charted. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022113551.htm
University of Connecticut. "'A permanent talent underclass': 'Excellence gap' among American students charted." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022113551.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

AFP (Aug. 26, 2014) The World Health Organization called Tuesday on governments should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, warning that they pose a "serious threat" to foetuses and young people. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
ICREACH: NSA Built A Google Of Americans' Info

ICREACH: NSA Built A Google Of Americans' Info

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) The Intercept published an article Monday profiling what the online publication called NSA's very own Google of personal data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A new study found fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But experts disagree on the results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins