Xiang, Yun. “Ethnic differences in achievement growth: Longitudinal data analysis of math achievement in a hierarchical linear modeling framework”, PhD, Boston College, 2009. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/676.
Given the call for greater understanding of racial inequality in student achievement in K-12 education, this study contributes a comprehensive, quantitative, longitudinal examination of the achievement gap phenomenon, with particular attention to the organization characteristics of schools and school districts. Employing data from a large number of districts in a single state, it examines the trends in achievement and the growth in achievement after the passage of NCLB. It focuses on mathematics performance from grade 6 to grade 8. Both a traditional descriptive approach and one employing Hierarchical Linear Models were applied and compared. The purpose was not to determine which methodology is superior but to provide complementary perspectives. The comparison between the two approaches revealed similar trends in achievement gaps, but the HLM approach offered a more nuanced description. Nonetheless the results suggest that it is useful to employ both approaches. As to the main question regarding ethnicity, it appears that even if student ethnicity is confounded with other indicators, such as initial score and socio-economic status, it is still an important predictor of both achievement gaps and achievement growth gaps. Moreover, demographic profiles at the school and district levels were also associated with these gaps.