Why Comparing NAEP Poverty Achievement Gaps Across States Doesn’t Work

Baker’s step-by-step analysis explains the complexities of comparing achievement gaps between higher- and lower-income students across states.  Raw comparisons are misleading because they rely on an incorrect assumption that the average of low-income children in one state is comparable to the average of low-income children in another.  New Jersey, for instance, comes in 5th in a ranking of raw comparisons between states, but when the necessary corrections are made for the size of the income gap between higher and lower-income students, New Jersey comes in 27th – with a smaller gap than in the average state.  

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