Document Type

Honors Project


What happens to achievement gaps in middle school test scores when the racial compositions of schools change? Existing research indicates that academic achievement on standardized tests is negatively related to high concentrations of non-white students in schools, and disproportionately affects non-white students. To explore this, I conducted a two-fold approach of analyzing school characteristics and student test scores from Minneapolis public schools between 1988 and 2004, and interviewing administrators from four different Minneapolis schools that used the MBST test between 1998-2004 in order to better understand the context of the processes that occurred to produce the results. I explored how school characteristics affect eighth grade MBST (Minnesota Basic Standards Test) pass rates among both white and non-white students in the Minneapolis school district. My data are unique because they include controls for stable, but unmeasured school characteristics, and they examine trends independent of district funding. I found that certain low white concentrations had significant and large correlations with lower test scores for both non-white and white students, even while controlling for school characteristics and time.



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