Posted on June 24, 2011

Achievement Gap for Hispanic Students Hasn’t Narrowed in 20 Years

Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, Christian Science Monitor, June 23, 2011

In 20 years, the national achievement gap between Hispanic students and their non-Hispanic white peers hasn’t budged.

But hints of progress can be found with a closer look at low-income Hispanics or those who already know the English language. And some states stand out for gaps considerably lower than the national average.

This first-of-its kind report on the Hispanic-white gap comes as Congress is considering how to rewrite No Child Left Behind, the federal law that has attempted to narrow gaps based on race, income, and other factors. Questions loom about how much of that accountability system will stay in place, and what specific role the federal government will play in pushing for the progress of Hispanic students.


Thursday’s report, “Achievement Gaps,” is the latest analysis from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which tracks student achievement over time and allows for comparison among states. This analysis focuses on reading and math scores in Grades 4 and 8 between 1990 and 2009.

Since the early 1990s, “there’s been overall growth in reading and math for both whites and Hispanics, . . . but the gap really hasn’t closed,” says Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which oversees NAEP.


In fourth-grade math in 2009, the average Hispanic score of 227 corresponds with the “basic” skill level, and it indicates that students can make a pictograph of given information, and can determine, in a multiple-choice question, how many given pieces cover a shape.

The white average score of 248, on the other hand, is just one point shy of reaching the “proficient” skill level, and it indicates that these students can subtract a two-digit number from a three-digit number and solve a word problem involving quarts and cups.


For Hispanics who already know English, the gaps with whites have narrowed. That gap was 15 points in Grade 8 reading, for instance, while ELL Hispanics scored 39 points lower than non-ELL Hispanics.

Among low-income students, the gaps between Hispanics and whites have narrowed in reading and eighth-grade math since 2003.


25 responses to “Achievement Gap for Hispanic Students Hasn’t Narrowed in 20 Years”

  1. Question Diversity says:

    Where is the report about the Hispanic-black achievement gap?

  2. E Pluribus Pluribus says:

    The white-Latino “gap” in cognitive functioning is six-months by two or three:

    Latino toddlers (2 or 3 years olds) “trail their white counterparts by up to six months in understanding words, speaking in more complex sentences and performing such simple tasks as assembling puzzles.”

    SOURCE: “Studies Find Latino Toddlers Lag White Children in Cognitive Skills”

    Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2009

    The gap is three and a half to four years by 12th grade:

    “By the time [minority students] reach grade 12, if they do so at all, minority students are about four years behind other young people. Indeed, 17 year-old African American and Latino students have skills in English, mathematics and science similar to those of 13-year-old white students.” (Education Trust, “Closing the Achievement Gap,” National Governors Association Clearinghouse, 2002, 9th paragraph)

    There is nothing our government schooling monopolies can do to “close” this gap short of degrading the schooling of the white population, which is indeed occurring — mostly by a debasing of curricula and a deceleration of instruction.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Where is the report about the Hispanic-black achievement gap?”

    Frankly, who cares? The Hispanic-White achievement gap is of far greater importance to the future of this country.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Parents are nearly the exclusive source of lower intelligence which derives from the genes they pass to their children and their ability to promote learning in their children. Stupidity also causes poverty because stupid workers are less valuable. Hispanics are demonstrably less intelligent than whites. Therefore, you would expect that 1) Hispanics “underachieve” in school and 2) they are poor.

    Also, the fact that many Hispanics are not proficient in English is due to their lower intelligence.

  5. crystal says:

    What about the gap between Hispanics and Asian Americans?

  6. Anonymous says:

    As the subtitle says, we need to redirect the liberals and eduwonks to other ‘achievement’ gaps. I truly believe, that since asians outscore whites (due ONLY to hard work and test prep, and not innate intelligence) that we need to campaign HARD to get asians compared to blacks/latinos as an even more worrisome ‘achievement’ gap.

    I read in the newspaper yesterday that asians now make up 13% of the population of New York City. That’s a million asians in the NYC metro area. They come in poor, no English, etc, and yet outscore blacks/latinos and whites due to an insane work ethic.

    Redirect the argument. Harp on it. Stay the course. Make poor whitey also look ‘disadvantaged.’ Think divide and conquer!

  7. John Engelman says:

    From 1990 to 2010 the gap in reading SAT scores between whites and Hispanics of Mexican descent grew by 10 points. The gap in mathematics scores grew by 15 points.

    The gap between white and black scores is even wider. It also grew during this time.

    This happened despite expensive efforts to close the gap with programs like No Child Left Behind.

  8. Allan says:

    When I graduated from High School in 1956, our class valedictorian had started school speaking only Greek, our salutatorian, only Yiddish. I, a ninth generation American, had started school speaking only German. There was, of course, no such thing as bi-lingual education, since so many languages were involved. In some ways, I think, we had an advantage: the only English we ever did learn was correct English.

    The Hispanics, I think, are doing themselves a disservice by demanding that everything be translated into Spanish.

  9. Laura says:

    I am a former school nurse who just retired from a school district in Phoenix with a 98% hispanic/black population. I could no longer stand to be a part of it and it was difficult to keep my mouth shut in order to keep my job.

    Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen the district try various programs that were supposed to pull these students from the bottom, nothing has worked. I still substitute in this district and the students are totally out of control to the point that it is frightening! I have to hide bandaids and cough drops so that they won’t come in between classes and steal them from the counters. when I say something to them or try to stop the behavior, they just laugh because they know that there are no consequences. I’ve had it and I pray for our nation! At this point, that’s all of the hope we have given our political state.

  10. Sureesh says:

    All those liberals need to visit Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California- 80 percent Asian and not a single discipline problem in sight- the Asian kids make the white kids look rowdy. Asian kids sit with their hands folded at their desks and don’t dare even whisper or send a text while the teacher is teaching. Drugs are literally unheard of and priority is given to studying and AP exams. How come no one ever takes about the Asian-white gap?

  11. Anonymous says:

    ‘White people are not magicians; we cannot work moral or economic magic. We cannot simply import billions of people to these shores and transform all of them into replicas of George Washington and Thomas Edison. The same goes for Europe: it cannot cure the problems of non-European nations through massive immigration’.–Unknown

  12. sbuffalonative says:

    Congress is considering how to rewrite No Child Left Behind, the federal law that has attempted to narrow gaps based on race, income, and other factors.

    Yes, rewriting another law should solve the problem. I’m sure it will work this time.

  13. Togo East says:

    “How come no one ever takes about the Asian-white gap?”

    And yet everything they study is the invention or discovery of a white man. When whites vanished from the Silk Road, China and India stagnated for 5,000 yrs until whites came back via the sea. It looks like it’s going to happen again. I’d be very worried if I were them.

  14. convairXF92 says:

    #6 writes:

    > a million asians in the NYC metro area…..outscore blacks/latinos and whites due to an insane work ethic.

    **The use of the word INSANE in this context absolutely has to cease!!!** If the type of purist discipline that really is necessary for COMPETENT performance in a number of technical areas is identified with MENTAL ILLNESS in “modern” US culture, what does this imply for our future? Actually, this points out a problem in white US culture: too heavy an influence from the psychatric, psychology, and counseling industry. Fresh-off-boat Asians are free of this influence, and so are American-born Asians assuming they’re wise enough to keep clear of school counselors etc.

    I’ve sometimes described the main function of psychiatry in the US as: to help people fail gracefully. I’ll leave what’s behind this as an exercise for the reader, but will mention Cultural Marxism and extreme competitiveness within the Jewish *shtetl* (from which the Western psychiatrist community largely descended from) as two background factors. (I remember Jewish MIT students criticizing their non-Jewish classmates for “unhealthy” hard work, often outrightly suggesting a need for psychiatric help to lower one’s standards or slow down, but when asked why they [Jews] themselves worked equally hard or harder, would reply “that’s just my nature” or “you know, I want a good job when I get out of here”).

    Ask your friendly neighborhood computer hacker on how it feels to spend 24 hours straight on a piece of code. He/she will most likely say “I’d rather do that than anything else on earth.” The typical school counselor (or, sadly, college counseling dean or even Admissions Director–look up the 2007 Marilee Jones MIT fraud case) has no intimate personal experience with such “extreme performance”, so is vulnerable to absorbing envy-based psychobabble on the subject. Similarly for the typical public K-12 teacher, non-Asian non-Jewish parent, or media commentator on education. So, lots of sources of the “don’t try too hard” meme to infect vulnerable kids. With all the other factors holding kids down, do we really need this?

    (Random aside: I wonder to what extent the Hispanic students–who probably have lots of run-ins with the guidance office–are being over-counseled (that is, fed whatever fashionable psych talk the counselor was taught in graduate school, repeatedly). Just mentioning that this may be one more stress point for Hispanic school kids, for whom American “psych talk” is strange and hard to comprehend, as well as painful.)

    Anyway, I hope I never again see “insane” applied to a positive work ethic here on Amren (or anywhere else). If you think “insane” hard work is a non-American Asian thing, don’t forget that the abovementioned computer hacker culture evolved among whites.

  15. Uncle Bob says:

    “Also, the fact that many Hispanics are not proficient in English is due to their lower intelligence.”

    I’ve often wondered about this. Could it just be laziness? Anyway, I’m sure their relatives teach them early on that it doesn’t matter — Senor Gringo will bend over and sacrifice to cover their laziness or other insufficiencies, just as he bends over for any and all who appear to be contributing to this “diversity,” a mad illness that will kill all that once was, or could have been, good.

    To borrow Allan’s words, we do them a gross disservice, and an even grosser one to ourselves.

  16. Crystal says:

    What is wrong with hard work and having a work ethic? this is the reason why Asian kids who come to school speaking little English then graduate as high school validictorians and get into Harvard.

  17. June says:

    SUREESH – I had to smile at your description of the Asian students’ classroom. You described the parochial school atmosphere of the thirties and forties when I attended. Without a threat, the nuns could command a classroom like that. We, too, sat with folded hands during lessons and we LEARNED! The worst infraction in those days was maybe chewing gum. With the attention we gave, we had the opportunity to learn. Complete chaos in today’s schools only turn out illiterate people who will continue those disruptive ways. Glad to know that there are some schools and students who still want to learn and obey the rules.

  18. Anonymous says:

    “In 20 years, the national achievement gap between Hispanic students and their non-Hispanic white peers hasn’t budged.”

    Check again in 20,000 years. Maybe by then Evolution will have had enough time to improve their brains and close that persistent, infuriating, “achievement gap.”

    but that’s precisly the problem with all this NCLB and similar nonsense from the educrats: they’re trying to fix in decades what actually takes millennia to accomplish.

  19. Wordy Anonymous says:

    Crystal @16 writes:

    What is wrong with hard work and having a work ethic? this is the reason why Asian kids who come to school speaking little English then graduate as high school validictorians and get into Harvard.

    Then why can’t Asians do this in their own countries instead of ours?

    Why do Asians always need to piggyback off of whites?

    Why can’t Asians create their own world-class universities?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why compare students to the average (white grades) and not the top tier students in California, Asians? Would it be considered ‘hatred’ of Asians? I bet their special interest groups would think so.

  21. Steven says:

    I would really like to know what the gap is for high income whites vs lower income whites. I would like to be dissuaded from thinking that lower income whites, who are forced into the public school and that entire mess, are scoring lower rates than their wealthier more priviliged white counterparts.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I look at this as a predictor chart for ‘how long until’…Race-X or Y is competent enough to fulfill a basic social role in replacing the indigenous whites.

    What you have to understand is that, with increasing automation in the government business and administrative areas (dial this number to…pay your taxes, pay your traffic fees, pay your child support, pay your rent. Habla Espanol para del numero…), the smart-white middle management types are not seen as a useful member of a vast, junk consumerist, multi-ethnic society. Minimize direct interaction, maximize cultural portability. And reserve The King’s English, like Latin once used to be, for the legal, scientific and engineering classes as a means to enforce a communication barrier -of choice-, by insisting that ‘Spanish is available’.

    First you import the slaves. Then, once they reach critical mass population levels, you import the new master class managers. And if you are white, supra-wealthy, and believe yourself protectively isolated by wealth and military power; you also make sure that these two groups (the cogs and the cognicients) are both separate, ethnically, from each other.

    And have no pity or reason to ally with the residual white working/middle classes. Because they are either better than them (Asians) or desperately want to be (Hispanics/Blacks).

    We are truly electing a new polity.

  23. Anonymous says:

    People forget that education begins at home. If parents don’t care (which seems like all blacks), then the student will do nothing to pass. At this point they usually give ‘berf’ and run (for the first time in their lives) to the welfare office for life.

  24. BLACK SWAN says:

    Steven, the IQ for whites, across all social groups is about the same. That is why there is a “white” IQ of about 100. The original IQ tests used whites and that is why 100 was used AS the IQ of the white race.

    You will find that across social groups, the IQ of each human breed is about the same. When you compare the different breeds (races) is when you find the IQ differences. Top being 104-105 for Jews, East Asians, etc. all the way down to about 85 for Africans.

  25. JOHN says:

    The reason theyre so anxious to “close the gap” is so Mexicans can take even MORE of our jobs and our place in our society. And those who worship the Asians,gimme a break!!