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The Long Road to Equality: A Meta-Regression Analysis of Changes in the Black Test Score Gap over Time.



We analyze changes in test score gaps between Black students and their peers from 1979 to 2010 and examine how observable factors contribute to the gap.


Using meta-regression, we examine the relationship between African American racial status and achievement in United States K-12 education in 165 published studies.


The absolute relationship between Black status and achievement decreased during the 1980s and early 1990s, but was stagnant from the late 1990s through 2010. Socioeconomic status explained more than half of the gap, and the influence of socioeconomic status on the gap did not changed significantly over time. Schooling characteristics explained relatively little of the gap, but school-level factors increased in importance over time.


Black test score gap closure stagnated in an era when federal education policy sought to close racial achievement gaps. Observable factors explain more of the gap than has been previously recognized.

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