Math, Reading Gaps Between White, Minority Kindergartners WidensATLANTA
Black and Hispanic children enter kindergarten with lower average levels of math and reading skills than White children, largely because of socioeconomic differences between White and minority families, according to a Penn State researcher. In addition, the gaps between Black and White students grow substantially in kindergarten and first grade, largely because of differences in the school experiences of Black and White children.
“Black children fall further behind Whites in kindergarten and first grade both in math and reading,” says Dr. Sean F. Reardon, assistant professor of education and sociology and research associate with the university’s Population Research Institute. “Some of this … can be traced to differences in the schools attended by Black and White students.”
On the other hand, the study shows that the disparity in Black-White learning rates during kindergarten cannot be traced to differences in the schools attended by Black and White students, but due to dissimilar learning rates of White and Black students attending the same schools, Reardon notes. Even when their families enjoy levels of income and education equal to those of Whites, Black students learn less during the kindergarten year than White students. The full report, “Sources of Educational Inequality: The Growth of Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Test Score Gaps in Kindergarten and First Grade,” is available online at <www.pop.psu.edu/general/pubs/working_papers/psu-pri/wp0305R.pdf>.
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