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Get the Facts on the Achievement Gap

January 25, 2017
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  • The Achievement Gap Has Persisted Over Time

    The achievement gap is not new: the difference in students’ achievement that was first identified five decades ago has persisted over time. It is visible across many metrics — from students’ achievement on math and reading exams to their graduation rates to enrollment in and graduation from college. 

    For example, in 1990, there was a 32-point gap between white students and black students on the fourth-grade math National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This gap had narrowed to 20 points but was still significant in 2015 (the last year available). Other tests told the same story of limited progress: In fourth-grade reading, for example, the gap narrowed from 32 points to 26 points between 1992 and 2015.