Where are the black students in STEM in Georgia?

September 25, 2013 at 1:32 am 6 comments

Perhaps the saddest table I’ve ever read in my local paper.  “Mathematics II” is Sophomore year (10th grade, 15 years old) in high school mathematics.  APS is Atlantic Public Schools.  I live in Dekalb county.  No wonder we can’t get more Black students into AP CS, if we can’t get past Sophomore year mathematics.

A_Georgia_Tech_researcher_asks__Where_are_the_black_students...___Get_Schooled___www.ajc.com

71 percent of the 2,500 black students in APS who took the Mathematics II exam in 2011, failed and only 1 percent, 25 students, passed with distinction (Pass Plus). By contrast, only 21 percent of white students failed with 79 percent passing and 23 percent of those passing with distinction.

via A Georgia Tech researcher asks: Where are the black students… | Get Schooled | www.ajc.com.

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PostDoc Best Practices: For Programs Supporting PostDocs in Computer Science CS loses an advocate for CS Ed: Mary Jean Harrold 1947 — 2013

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alfred Thompson  |  September 25, 2013 at 7:42 am

    But why is this happening? We know it is not that the minority students are less able or not as smart. The African American students in my classes do as well as the white students. I know I am in a different sort of school – the parents of my African American students are professionals including doctors. Any idea what happens when we allow for social/economic factors?

    Reply
    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  September 25, 2013 at 8:15 am

      I’m sure that SES plays a role in this, but I don’t think that 71% of Atlanta Public School black students are low SES. I don’t think we know all the factors, but I do think Betsy DiSalvo’s work with Glitch (and Barbara’s new work with Project Rise Up) point towards framing and motivation as being key issues.

      Reply
  • 3. Kathi Fisler  |  September 25, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Numbers like this concern me in the context of calls for “coding for all” in K-12. Many of those calls reference the economy and role of coding concepts in modern jobs. Students who can’t get past basic algebra won’t qualify for those jobs, no matter what coding background they received. I get nervous with the “coding panacea” feel to much of the press around coding for all. Unless problems like this are also addressed, coding on its own won’t create vast new economic opportunities for students struggling in basic math.

    (I’m not discounting other arguments for widespread coding or saying its necessarily a bad idea — just noting that much of the hype overlooks this deep connection that affects the long-term impact of computing education for this group of students)

    Kathi

    Reply
  • 4. Garth  |  September 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I am willing to bet if the study looked at income there would be a correlation with both race and failure rates. Often these studies point out something that is totally irrelevant, race in this case, but does put a red flag in the readers face. Race has nothing to do with the ability to pass a math test, but income and the resulting living conditions do.

    Reply
    • 5. Mark Guzdial  |  September 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Culture matters, too. That’s what Betsy’s work is about.

      Reply
  • […] talked about Kamau Bobb’s work in this blog previously, when he wrote depressing op-ed about the state of mathematics education in Atlanta public schools. He’s recently been interviewed in a three part series in Black Enterprise about his role as […]

    Reply

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