American Institutes for Research Experts Play a Major Role in New Report That Details Achievement Gaps Between Hispanic and White Students

Washington, D.C. – Experts from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) played a key role in preparing a new report released June 23, 2011, by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Achievement Gaps: How Hispanic and White Students in Public Schools Perform in Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress provides detailed information on the achievement gap between Hispanic and white public school students in grades four and eight in mathematics and reading at the national and state levels since the 1990s.

The report describes how achievement gaps have changed over time and looks at the performance of specific student groups, such as those designated as English Language Learners (ELLs), as well as students from low income families who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

The report found that although scores for Hispanic and White students have risen since the 1990s, the overall gap remains. At the national level, the achievement gap was unchanged between 2007 and 2009.

The mathematics achievement gap for low income Hispanic and White eighth graders who were eligible for NSLP was narrower in 2009 compared to 2003, and the reading gap narrowed for NSLP-eligible fourth and eighth graders during the same period. The gap also narrowed between White and non-ELL Hispanic students at both grades in mathematics and reading since 1990.

The report was authored by AIR experts F. Cadelle Hemphill and Alan Vanneman. Taslima Rahman of NCES was the project officer.

Most of the report’s data comes from the results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) main assessments in mathematics and reading, while the trend data is derived from results from as early as 1990.

The full report is available on the NCES website.

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit


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