The increasing impact of socioeconomics and race on standardized academic test scores across elementary, middle, and high school

Gwyne W. White, Cesalie T. Stepney, Danielle Ryan Hatchimonji, Dominic C. Moceri, Arielle V. Linsky, Jazmin A. Reyes-Portillo, Maurice J. Elias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


For students and schools, the current policy is to measure success via standardized testing. Yet the immutable factors of socioeconomic status (SES) and race have, consistently, been implicated in fostering an achievement gap. The current study explores, at the school-level, the impact of these factors on test scores. Percentage of students proficient for Language and Math was analyzed from 452 schools across the state of New Jersey. By high school, 52% of the variance in Language and 59% in Math test scores can be accounted for by SES and racial factors. At this level, a 1% increase in school minority population corresponds to a 0.19 decrease in percent Language proficient and 0.33 decrease for Math. These results have significant implications as they suggest that school-level interventions to improve academic achievement scores will bestymied by socioeconomic and racial factors and efforts to improve the achievement gap via testing have largely measured it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-23
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016



  • Academic achievement
  • Equal education
  • Race
  • Socioeconomic status

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