Racial Gaps in Math Course Taking: How School and Classroom Segregation Shape Opportunities to Learn

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:57
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Yasmiyn IRIZARRY, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
The primary goal of this study is to examine how the social environment of public schools in the U.S., specifically glaring levels of between and within school segregation, impact the quantity and quality of STEM-related academic opportunities available to students of color during high school. Within racially segregated, high minority high schools, students of color are more likely to take advanced courses (Lucas and Gamoran 2002; Kelly 2009); however, these schools, which are most often located in high poverty, urban systems, tend to offer fewer opportunities for advanced course-taking and the advanced courses they do offer often lack rigor (Dougherty et al. 2006; Rumberger and Palardy 2005). In contrast, racially integrated and mostly white high schools tend to offer a greater variety of and more rigorous advanced course-taking opportunities; however, many of these schools employ curriculum-based racial segregation, also described as racialized tracking, that results in the underrepresentation of minority students in advanced courses  (Loveless 1999; Mickelson 2001; Mickelson and Everett 2008; Tyson 2011). Although students of color (particularly black students) in racially mixed and mostly white schools gain similar benefits from advance course-taking as their white peers, they are less likely to take, and thus benefit from, advanced course-taking opportunities (Kelly 2009; Riegle-Crumb and Grodsky 2010; Tyson 2012). I use two waves (fall of 9th grade, 2009; spring of 11th grade, 2012) from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS), a recent, large-scale, nationally representative dataset. These data are supplemented with school-level data from the 2009 and 2011 waves of the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). The CRDC is the first national database that includes the racial distributions of students within key classes. I use measures of racial/ethnic disproportionality in advanced math courses as proxies of racialized tracking.