Why high-income students do better: It’s not the velocity but the acceleration

May 28, 2012 at 9:30 am 3 comments

Low-income students and schools are getting better, according to this study.  They’re just getting better so much more slowly than the wealthy students and schools.  Both are getting better incrementally (both moving in the right direction), but each increment is bigger for the rich (acceleration favors the rich).

We heard something similar from Michael Lach last week.  The NSF CE21 program organized a workshop for all the CS10K efforts focused on teacher professional development.  It was led by Iris Weiss who runs one of the largest education research evaluation companies.  Michael was one of our invited speakers, on the issue of scaling.  Michael has been involved in Chicago Public Schools for years, and just recently from a stint at the Department of Education.  He told us about his efforts to improve reading, math, and science scores through a focus on teacher professional development.  It really worked, for both the K-8 and high school levels.  Both high-SES (socioeconomic status) and low-SES students improved compared to control groups.  But the gap didn’t get smaller.

Despite public policy and institutional efforts such as need-blind financial aid and no-loan policies designed to attract and enroll more low-income students, such students are still more likely to wind up at a community college or noncompetitive four-year institution than at an elite university, whether a member of the Ivy League or a state flagship.The study, “Running in Place: Low-Income Students and the Dynamics of Higher Education Stratification,” will be published next month in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, but an abstract is already available on the journal’s website.“I think [selective colleges] very much want to bring in students who are low-income, for the most part,” said Michael N. Bastedo, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of higher education at the University of Michigan. “The problem is, over time, the distance between academic credentials for wealthy students and low-income students is getting longer and longer…. They’re no longer seen as competitive, and that’s despite the fact that low-income students are rising in their own academic achievement.”

via News: Running in Place – Inside Higher Ed.

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Stereotype threat and growth mindset: If we tell students intelligence is malleable, are we lying? Next Generation Science Standards available for comment now through 1 June

3 Comments Add your own

  • […] Fincher came to the CS10K Professional Development workshop last week, and I asked her why she thought Google was doing this.  She suggested that it’s probably […]

  • […] Disturbing but fascinating piece linked below that suggests that the “super efficient” meritocracy of the United States quickly sorts out those with talent, who then marry each other, and over time, the gap between the upper classes and the lower classes becomes more than just opportunity.  The suggestion in this interview is that schools can’t really do much to fill in that gap.  The piece by Roschelle et al that I mentioned a few weeks ago suggests that schools can help the lower-performing groups improve their performance, but there is some question as to whether schools can really bridge the gap, or will the better-performing students just accelerate even more than the lower-performing? […]

  • 3. Some Interesting Reading | Teaching Software Carpentry  |  April 10, 2013 at 11:15 am

    […] Why high-income students do better: It’s not the velocity but the acceleration […]


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