Inequality in mathematics and science achievement<br />Walter G. Secada<br />Professor and Chair, Department of Teaching a...
Presentation Overview<br />Why de we care about inequality?<br />Defining achievement<br />Defining social-demographic gro...
Why do we care about inequality?<br />Socially enlightened self-interest<br />Meaningful participation in our democracy<br...
Defining Achievement<br />Performance on standardized tests (most common): SAT, HSB, NELS, TIMSS, LSAY, NAEP, PISA (match ...
Defining Achievement, 2<br />Interrelationships among: e.g. course taking predicts test performance; test performance cons...
Defining Social-Demographic Groups<br />Somewhere between the individual (and individual variation) and the population lie...
Defining Social-Demographic Groups, 2<br />Differences based on groups have differential importance in social policy debat...
Not all inequalities are equal<br />According to PISA results:<br />In reading literacy, females do better in ALL countrie...
Not all inequalities are equal<br />In the U.S., females now enroll in and complete post-secondary education in greater nu...
Not all inequalities are equal<br />The interactions of race (ethnicity) with gender and social class is more complex than...
Defining Goals<br />Is your goal to close one (or more) achievement gap(s)? If so, along which lines?<br />Is your goal to...
Malleable versus non-malleable determinants<br />By the time a child enters school, it is too late for him/ her to chose h...
Malleable versus non-malleable determinants, 2<br />We know a lot on how to improve achievement at the lower end of the di...
Malleable versus non-malleable determinants, 3<br />We know very little – maybe next to nothing – about CLOSING any of the...
Malleable versus non-malleable determinants, 4<br />Valerie E. Lee with Julia Smith (2001). Restructuring high schools for...
Promoting Science among English Language Learners (P-SELL)<br />DIRECTED BY OKHEE LEE<br />Five year research and developm...
P-SELL: Data Gathering<br />FCAT student achievement in 3rd-grade math (n = 4,500 P-SELL), 4th-grade math & writing (3,100...
P-SELL Results: 3rd grade math<br />
P-SELL Results: 4th grade math<br />
P-SELL Results: 5th-grade math<br />
P-SELL results: 4th-grade writing<br />
P-SELL results: 5th-grade science<br />
Questions and Answers<br />
Appendix A<br />Science Achievement figures (following the mathematics achievement figures used above) from NELS 1990 (10t...
Inequality in Mathematics and Science Achievement - Walter Secada
Inequality in Mathematics and Science Achievement - Walter Secada
Inequality in Mathematics and Science Achievement - Walter Secada
Inequality in Mathematics and Science Achievement - Walter Secada
Inequality in Mathematics and Science Achievement - Walter Secada
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Inequality in Mathematics and Science Achievement - Walter Secada

  1. 1. Inequality in mathematics and science achievement<br />Walter G. Secada<br />Professor and Chair, Department of Teaching and Learning<br />Senior Associate Dean, School of Education<br />University of Miami, FL<br />Presentation made to STEM Summit 2010: Early Childhood through Higher Education, University of California-Irvine, February 18-19, 2010<br />
  2. 2. Presentation Overview<br />Why de we care about inequality?<br />Defining achievement<br />Defining social-demographic groups<br />Not all inequalities are equal<br />Defining goals<br />Malleable versus non-malleable determinants<br />P-SELL<br />
  3. 3. Why do we care about inequality?<br />Socially enlightened self-interest<br />Meaningful participation in our democracy<br />Ideals of fair play<br />Remedy for historical injustices<br />Personal utilitarian worth<br />Part of our cultural background<br />Maintaining the disciplines<br />
  4. 4. Defining Achievement<br />Performance on standardized tests (most common): SAT, HSB, NELS, TIMSS, LSAY, NAEP, PISA (match of curriculum to test)<br />Course grades<br />Course taking (tracks)<br />College majors and course taking<br />Careers requiring math and science<br />Careers as mathematicians and scientists<br />
  5. 5. Defining Achievement, 2<br />Interrelationships among: e.g. course taking predicts test performance; test performance constrains course taking<br />High in one does not guarantee high in another<br />
  6. 6. Defining Social-Demographic Groups<br />Somewhere between the individual (and individual variation) and the population lies the group<br />Dominant groupings: Gender (not sex), race and ethnicity, social class, language proficiency<br />Secondary groupings: immigrant status, generational status<br />Emerging grouping: special needs, sexuality<br />
  7. 7. Defining Social-Demographic Groups, 2<br />Differences based on groups have differential importance in social policy debates; for example, social class is an accepted characteristic that explains away group differences<br />Groupings have had histories of being accepted as natural; now, among social scientists, they are seen as socially constructed<br />Groupings are now seen as interacting (e.g., race-class-gender) or, better stated, people are seen as inhabiting multiple groups at the same time<br />
  8. 8. Not all inequalities are equal<br />According to PISA results:<br />In reading literacy, females do better in ALL countries; in 11 countries, they are at least half a proficiency level above males; in the remaining 21 (which includes the United States) they are less than half a proficiency level ahead<br />In mathematics, males do better in half the countries (no gender differences in the U.S.)<br />In Science, males do better in three countries; females do better in three (no gender differences in the U.S.)<br />
  9. 9. Not all inequalities are equal<br />In the U.S., females now enroll in and complete post-secondary education in greater numbers than males; if they enter the sciences, it tends to be the life and/or social sciences<br />Given PISA results: the real gender question is why are so few females entering other (non-life, non-social) sciences and why are so few females entering mathematics<br />Need to look at other (structural) sources of inequality<br />
  10. 10. Not all inequalities are equal<br />The interactions of race (ethnicity) with gender and social class is more complex than one would believe based on looking at either single-groupings or at one or another grade or at one or another subject<br />Consider the following 10th grade mathematics achievement scores, taken from ELS (NCES 2004-404; equated to NELS 1990 and HSB 10th grade)<br />
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  13. 13. Defining Goals<br />Is your goal to close one (or more) achievement gap(s)? If so, along which lines?<br />Is your goal to improve achievement of an underperforming or under-represented group?<br />Improvement of achievement by the lower end of a distribution may, sometimes, result in exacerbating the gap (Sesame Street revisited).<br />Innovations targeted for the lower end often are restricted from it (Montessori Schools)<br />
  14. 14. Malleable versus non-malleable determinants<br />By the time a child enters school, it is too late for him/ her to chose her/his parents more wisely.<br />Social policy is often unable (or unwilling) to tackle (let alone) change long-standing practices<br />We may not have developed the technologies that allow us to change determinants of achievement (de-tracking)<br />
  15. 15. Malleable versus non-malleable determinants, 2<br />We know a lot on how to improve achievement at the lower end of the distribution<br />We do not know how efforts focused at one kind of achievement interact with other forms of achievement or (more seriously) with other efforts<br />
  16. 16. Malleable versus non-malleable determinants, 3<br />We know very little – maybe next to nothing – about CLOSING any of the aforementioned gaps<br />Issues of defining interventions, bringing them to scale, costs involved, avoiding the math and science wars<br />Inclusion and improvement of performance is often set in opposition to excellence<br />
  17. 17. Malleable versus non-malleable determinants, 4<br />Valerie E. Lee with Julia Smith (2001). Restructuring high schools for equity and excellence: What works. New York: Teachers College Press<br />Secondary schools, between 500 and 1500 students, which provide a limited and focused math/science curriculum, whose teachers accept responsibility for student achievement, and where teaching focuses on depth and understanding (over superficial coverage) begin to close the SES-based achievement gap between 8th and 10th grade and between 10th and 12th in mathematics and science (NELS:88 data)<br />
  18. 18. Promoting Science among English Language Learners (P-SELL)<br />DIRECTED BY OKHEE LEE<br />Five year research and development project<br />Inquiry based science: “hands-on” (but really more lab-base), math applications (e.g., metric measurement), writing (of hypotheses, methods and results)<br />Addresses the Sunshine State Science Standards in grades 3-5<br />Includes language-based supports<br />Goes from very teacher directive (3rd grade) to more student driven (5th grade) across its three years<br />Professional development focused on implementation<br />
  19. 19. P-SELL: Data Gathering<br />FCAT student achievement in 3rd-grade math (n = 4,500 P-SELL), 4th-grade math & writing (3,100), 5th-grade math & science (n = 2,500)<br />P-SELL test of Student science-achievement (growth), P-SELL writing assessment<br />Teacher surveys<br />Classroom observation based on CORS scales<br />Student reasoning tasks; teacher discussion of student reasoning<br />School-level interviews<br />
  20. 20. P-SELL Results: 3rd grade math<br />
  21. 21. P-SELL Results: 4th grade math<br />
  22. 22. P-SELL Results: 5th-grade math<br />
  23. 23. P-SELL results: 4th-grade writing<br />
  24. 24. P-SELL results: 5th-grade science<br />
  25. 25. Questions and Answers<br />
  26. 26. Appendix A<br />Science Achievement figures (following the mathematics achievement figures used above) from NELS 1990 (10th grade)<br />

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