Who Gets in? Examining Inequality in Eighth-Grade Algebra

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  • 1 The University of North Texas,, 1155 Union Circle, Denton, Texas 76203-5017;
  • 2 Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, 305 E. 23rd Street Stop G1800, Austin, Texas 78712-1699;

Using data from a large urban district, this study investigated whether racial inequality in access to eighth-grade algebra is a reproduction of differences in prior opportunities to learn (as evidenced by grades, test scores, and level of prior mathematics course) or whether patterns reflect an increase in inequality such that racial differences in access remain when controlling for academic background. We considered how this varies by the racial composition of the school; further, we examined differences in access between both Black and Hispanic students and their White peers as well as differences between Black and Hispanic students. The results point to patterns of reproduction of inequality in racially integrated schools, with some evidence of increasing inequality in predominantly Hispanic schools

Journal for Research in Mathematics Education


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