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Student Achievement--Closing the Achievement Gap


The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013 African American Students - Nearly all African American students (86 percent) report they aspire to postsecondary education, but 62 percent did not meet any of the four ACT college readiness benchmarks. Only 10 percent met three or more benchmarks. After high school, 63 percent immediately enroll in postsecondary education, but only 62 percent of those students who complete a year persist into the second year. These findings indicate a need to improve readiness for African American students and to address challenges to persistence. (ACT, March 2014)...

Preschool-to-Kindergarten Transition Patterns for African American Boys - Four patterns emerged following a study of African American boys transitioning from preschool to kindergarten. Just over half (51%) of the boys showed significant academic gains. A sizeable group (19%) were low preschool achievers whose scores fell further after transition. The smallest group (11%) were early preschool achievers who declined academically and behaviorally in kindergarten. Then there were consistent early achievers - 20% - who were high performing achievers in preschool and remained so in kindergarten. (Iheoma Iruka, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina, January 2014)...

Road to Equity: Expanding AP Access and Success for African-American Students - Of 75 school districts whose demographics make them eligible for the Broad Prize for Urban Education, only six have student populations in which African-American students were improving their passing rates for Advanced Placement (AP) exams while keeping participation levels steady: Cobb and Fulton counties, Ga., Garland Independent, Tex., Jefferson County, Ky., Orange county, Fla., and San Diego Unified, Ca. Garland was the only district increasing participation and pass rates for African-Americans and Hispanics at levels outpacing their white peers. This brief explores strategies used by all six, among them: cast a wider net for academic potential, impose a rigorous curriculum in elementary school, apply gifted strategies to all children, open AP to everyone, offer a broad array of support, and place a premium on teacher training. (Broad Prize for Urban Education, Summer 2013)...

Positioning Young Black Boys for Educational Success - The achievement gaps that exist today are an affront to a society committed to equal educational opportunity and are a drag on the nation's economy, prosperity and competitiveness. The large gap between Black males and others exists before these children start school and continues throughout their lifespan. The gap and the plight of Black males was the focus of two recent ETS conferences that are highlighted in this issue of ETS Policy Notes. (Educational Testing Service, Fall 2011)...

A Call to Action to Raise Achievement for African American Students - The first part of this brief summarizes key results for African Americans on the state tests used for accountability under the No Child Left Behind Act. The second part of the brief considers policies that could be undertaken at the local, state and federal level to raise achievement for African American students. The authors arrived at these policy implications after reviewing studies by other researchers about possible factors underlying the black-white achievement gap and possible strategies to address the gap. (Center on Education Policy, June 2010)...

The Public Returns to Public Educational Investments in African American Males - This paper calculates the public savings from greater public investments in the education of African American males. The report: (1) identifies five interventions that would increase the graduation rate; (2) reports the public cost of each intervention; and (3) calculates the lifetime public benefits in terms of increased tax revenues and lower spending on health and crime. These public benefits amount to $256,700 per new graduate and the median intervention would cost only $90,700. The benefit/cost ratio is 2.83. (Henry Levin, Clive Belfield, Peter Muennig and Cecilia Rouse, The Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education, 2007)...

Brown At 50: King’s Dream or Plessy’s Nightmare - Brown v. Board of Education led to widespread desegregation programs, but the 1991 Dowell decision allowed for the return to neighborhood schools, even if it resulted in resegregation. In many districts where court-ordered desegregation was ended in the past decade, there has been a major increase in segregation. After making the most progress in integration, the south is now experiencing the largest move to resegregation. Other findings include, central cities of large metropolitan areas are heavily segregated, and the vast majority of intensely segregated schools face conditions of concentrated poverty. (Gary Orfield and Chungmei Lee, The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, January 2004)...

Time To Move On: African American and White Parents Set an Agenda for Public Schools - This study examines the opinions of African American and white parents regarding education. Although the study finds many areas of agreement between both groups, there were disagreements. African American parents were more likely to believe schools should expect all kids to go to college and that having a diverse student body and teaching about the contributions of African Americans and other minorities is essential. Although they consider integration desirable, African American parents put more emphasis on improving academic achievement for their children. The authors list an agenda for improving public schools beginning on page 30, and supporting tables containing survey questions and responses on page 38. (Steve Farkas and Jean Johnson, Public Agenda, 1998)...


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