The Achievement Gap

The achievement of minority students on national or international standardized tests (NAEP, PISA, TIMSS) has always trailed white and Asian students. For example, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is called The Nation’s Report Card, has always reported Latino/a and African Americans performing lower than their white counterparts. These persistently low results are viewed by minority leaders as pressing reasons for promoting reform. Many believe minority students have the most to gain from methods that make learning accessible to larger numbers of students, and thus the leaders argue for the professional development of teachers focusing on a broader repertoire of strategies such as those recommended by NCTM/CCSSM for conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills (Gutierrez, 2000; Noguera, 2015). Although the white- black and white-Hispanic achievement gaps have been narrowing nationally over the last decade or more, Musu-Gillette et al. (2016) report that of the STEM bachelor’s degrees conferred from 2012 to 2013 (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), 30% were earned by Asian students, and only 11% earned by blacks, 14% earned by Hispanic, 14% earned by American Indian/Alaska Native, and 15% earned by Pacific Islander students (vi).

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