Modeling changes in achievement gaps in reading and mathematics

Modeling changes in achievement gaps in reading and mathematics

First Author: Jessica Namkung -- Universit of Nebraska-Lincoln
Additional authors/chairs: 
Marc Goodrich; Hongwook Suh; Mingsung Kim
Keywords: Reading Assessment, Mathematics, Academic success, Learning disability or difficulty, English Language Learners (ELL)
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose
The purpose of current study was to evaluate changes in the achievement gaps in reading and mathematics over time using longitudinal data from a Midwestern state.

Method
Data for the study came from 277,076 students across 12 cohorts from 2009 to 2015. Students were assessed annually from third grade to 8th grade in reading and mathematics. We used latent growth curve modeling to evaluate changes in the achievement gaps over time. Specifically, we evaluated the achievement gaps for students with high incidence disability categories (i.e., emotional behavioral disorders, specific learning disabilities, and speech or language impairments) and students identified as English language learners (ELL).

Results
Results indicated quadratic growth in both reading and mathematics, such that students’ rate of growth decelerated over time. Students with high incidence disabilities and ELLs had lower initial reading and mathematics scores compared to typical peers. However, students with high incidence disabilities and ELLs had faster rates of growth in reading and mathematics compared to typical peers. For mathematics, there was more deceleration in the growth rate for students with high incidence disabilities and ELLs whereas in reading, there was less deceleration.

Conclusions
Results indicated that there are significant achievement gaps for students with high incidence disabilities and ELLs. For reading, the achievement gaps narrowed over time, but not for mathematics. For mathematics, the achievement gaps widened over time.