California study finds achievement gaps

“Disturbing” achievement gaps were found in a new study of what high school tests predict about students’ first year performance at community colleges, notes John Rosenberg on Minding the Campus.

The study measured students’ performance on the California Standards Test as high school juniors against their first year community college performance in four areas: the portion of the classes they took that transferable to the California State University system; the portion of remedial classes taken; and their grades in both types. In dramatically unsurprising findings. . .  the authors found that students with the best scores on the CST had higher grades their first year in community college and were enrolled in fewer remedial classes.

One finding was surprising: “Regardless of their academic achievements in high school, Asian and white students consistently enroll in more transferable courses than their Latino and black counterparts do,” the study found. Whites and Asians in the bottom 25% of CST performance enroll in more transferable courses that blacks and Hispanics in the top 25%.

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Latinos and blacks may have attended high schools with lower academic standards, start with less “college knowledge” and be sidelined by placement tests with cultural biases, Michal Kurlaender, an associate professor at the University of California at Davis’s School of Education, told Inside Higher Ed.

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON March 5, 2013

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