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In this study, we investigated the passing rates in reading and in math over the past 16 years of Texas statewide data for White students and for Hispanic students on state-mandated assessment measures. Concerning the first research question for 16 academic school years (1993-2009) for Hispanic students and White students in reading, statistically significant differences were yielded for all years of data. From the 1993-2009 school years, the average passing rate of White students was 10.5% higher than the average passing rate of Hispanic students. Effect sizes for the 16-year time period ranged from moderate (0.58- 0.79) to large (0.84-1.41). For Hispanic and White students in reading, a large effect size extended across a 11-year time period and a moderate effect size continued across a 5-year time period.
Additionally, for the second research question for 16 academic school years for Hispanic students and White students in math, statistically significant differences were yielded for all years of data. Across the 16-year time period, the average passing rate in math for White students was 90.20% whereas, for Hispanic students, the average passing rate was 82.44% in math. For the 1993-2009 data analyzed, White students outperformed Hispanic students by an average of 7.76% in math. The effect size range for the 16-year time period ranged from small (0.30- 0.40), moderate (0.53-0.71), and large (0.85-0.92). For Hispanic and White students in math, a large effect size extended across a 6-year time period, a moderate effect size continued across an 8-year time period, and a small effect size extended for a 2-year time period.
For the 16-year time period, the trend concerning the differences in passing rates in reading between Hispanic students and White students in elementary school revealed an uninterrupted achievement gap. The passing rates in reading for White students averaged 6.73% to 30.87% higher than the average passing rates for Hispanic students across the 16-year time period. Differences in passing rates in reading between Hispanic students and White students were evident in the initial 1993-1994, 2002-2003, 2004-2005 testing years.
Pertaining to the 16-year time period, in math, the trend concerning the differences in passing rates between Hispanic students and White students revealed a continuous achievement gap. More accurately, a trend with differences between Hispanic and White students was present for all 16 years of data analyzed. Average differences between White students were 1.50% to 13.61% higher than Hispanic students for math, over the 16-year time period. Differences in passing rates in math between Hispanic students and White students were evident in the initial 1993-1994, 1994-1995, 2003-2004, and 2004-2005 testing years.
Equity in academic achievement for all students, regardless of ethnicity, is an issue that has captured the attention of politicians, educators, and the federal government (Yell&Drasgow, 2005). The exigency to create equal educational opportunities for all students was actualized during the civil rights movements and the implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Educational Act during the 1960s (Yell&Drasgow, 2005). Equity in education reached a pivotal point when the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was enacted, in an effort to create equality for all students through “…stronger accountability for results, more freedom for states and communities, proven education methods, and more choices for parents” (U.S. Department of Education, http://www.ed.gov/nclb/overview/intro/4pillars.html). Provisions of the NCLB Act went into effect the following July, 2003. The foundation of the NCLB Act stemmed from the certainty that an increased role of the federal government in education would develop impartiality for all students (Yell&Drasgow, 2005).
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