Journal of Contemporary Research in Education


Numerous studies have examined both the income and race/ethnic achievement gaps. These gaps are particularly striking in the case of minority children, who are more likely than their non- Hispanic white counterparts to be living in poverty. This overlap in achievement gaps makes it difficult to clearly identify the most disadvantaged children. Using two designations in No Child Left Behind (NCLB), socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity, this study examines math and reading trajectories as children move through elementary school. Applying multilevel growth curves to four waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99, I examine the intersection of children’s income status and race/ethnicity on their achievement trajectories. My findings show children who are doubly disadvantaged --both poor and minority-- have the worst outcomes. However, non- Hispanic white children who are identified as the most economically disadvantaged have better outcomes than some of their same race peers. These findings point to the importance of examining the intersection of children’s socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity as it relates to achievement outcomes over time. Pinpointing who are the most “at risk” children within and/or across socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity can lead to targeted policy intervention ensuring these children are served.

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