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Families or Schools? Explaining the Convergence in White and Black Academic Performance

Michael D Cook and William Evans

Journal of Labor Economics, 2000, vol. 18, issue 4, 729-54

Abstract: Differences in test scores of white and black students have narrowed substantially over time, falling by one-half since 1970s. Some have speculated that this convergence is due to changes in family background or convergence in school quality. In this article we decompose the convergence in test scores into that portion due to changes in parental education, changes in school quality, and a narrowing of the within-school gap in test scores. Only about 25% of the overall convergence is attributable to changing family and school characteristics. We find that nearly 75% of the convergence is attributable to changes within schools. Copyright 2000 by University of Chicago Press.

Date: 2000
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