On average, daunting achievement gaps: Yesterday, we looked at enrollment figures for blacks and Hispanics at the nine campuses of the California university system in the year 2015. Those data were part of the New York Times' gloomy August 25 front-page report about the hopeless, pathetic failure of affirmative action programs.
At those nine campuses, enrollment figures for blacks and Hispanics don't match those groups' share of the state's college-age population. What explains these enrollment shortfalls?
Tomorrow, we'll look at the New York Times' extremely brief attempt to (pretend to) answer that question. For today, let's consider some basic background which underlies those disappointing enrollment figures:
Let's look at achievement levels in reading and math among various demographic groups in California's public schools. We'll consider average scores from Grade 8 in the year 2011. The California kids who recorded those scores would have been high school seniors in the fall of 2015, college freshmen in 2016.
We're looking at scores from the National Assessment of Eduvcational Progress (NAEP), the widely-regarded "gold standard" of domestic educational testing. In California's public schools, here's what achievement levels in reading looked like that year:
Average scores, Grade 8 reading, 2011 NAEPBy themselves, those average scores mean little. As always, we'll cite a very rough rule of thumb which is often applied to NAEP scores:
California public schools
White students: 268.07
Black students: 242.84
Hispanic students: 245.22
Asian-American students: 270.62
According to this very rough rule of thumb, a gap of 10-11 points is said to represent roughly one academic year. If we apply this rule of thumb to those average scores, we see substantial "achievement gaps," on average, between these groups of students.
The gaps are very large in reading. The gaps are substantially larger if we consider math scores:
Average scores, Grade 8 math, 2011 NAEPThe gaps were very large in reading; the gaps in math were gigantic. Looking at those average achievement scores, no one would be surprised to learn that, four years later, black and Hispanic kids were "under-represented" on the nine most competitive campuses of the state's vast college system.
California public schools
White students: 289.97
Black students: 253.63
Hispanic students: 259.53
Asian-American students: 298.26
Very large "achievement gaps" obtain within those data. They help explain the "enrollment gaps" at schools like UCLA and Berkeley.
This raises a second, more fundamental question: what explains the existence of those large achievement gaps? By the time of eighth grade, why are black and Hispanic kids, on average, so far behind their white and Asian-American counterparts?
The Times devoted a few meager words to this important question. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at those meager words, with which the Times tossed off its lordly explanation of this highly undesirable state of affairs.
We'll also consider another important point: improvement over the years! Along with the large achievement gaps, we'll record the large academic gains.
That front-page report by the New York Times dealt with a deeply important state of affairs. The New York Times has never displayed any real interest in this topic. Despite our massive self-regard, neither have we, Over Here, in our pseudo-liberal tents.
When black kids get shot, we pretend to care. Otherwise, total silence.
Voluminous data are there to review: For all NAEP data, just click here. That takes you to the NAEP Data Explorer. From there, you're on your own.
Voluminous data are there to review. Our "journalists" rarely bother. This is all part of the fail.