Race-Ethnicity, SES, Gender, and Lanuage Proficiency Trends in Mathematics Achievement: An Update

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  • 1 University of Wisconsin—Madison

The purpose of this article is to document changes in U.S. mathematics achievement by reviewing national trend studies, college admissions examinations, and Advanced Placement tests. This article examined this quantitative research literature to determine trends in mathematics achievement of various social groups defined along lines of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and language proficiency. The findings of this review indicate that over the last 15 years all demographic groups have improved in mathematics achievement—specifically, in basic skills. Moreover, the mathematics achievement gap is slowly closing between White students and students of color on assessments of basic skills. Males tended to outperform females on standardized measures; however, gender differences were small and generally not significant. Consistent with past reviews of mathematics achievement, course taking was a powerful variable, often resulting in similar achievement gains across diverse groups. This finding has serious implications for equity-related policy. The article concludes with two other recommendations: the need for fiscal and cultural policy to support standards-based reform.

Footnotes

William F. Tate IV, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

Contributor Notes

William F. Tate IV, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

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