Excellence Gaps in K-12 Education: Race, Gender, and Poverty and High Achievement

Saturday, February 18, 2012: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 119-120 (VCC West Building)
Equity and excellence in education are often treated as competing goals: to achieve one, we must neglect the other. But education systems that fail to harness the potential of students from every background can make claims to neither quality nor equality. This is the problem of the excellence gap: historically underprivileged groups make up a disproportionately small share of top educational performers. The consequences of this gap are enormous, with the loss of educational talents and intellectual contributions from millions of students around the globe each year. Ignoring gaps seriously inhibits societies' ability to produce the scientific and technological talent needed to solve increasingly complicated problems. Although education is generally thought of as a nation-specific activity, the major issues today (e.g., terrorism, global warming, pollution, poverty) cross borders and require contributions from dozens of countries. This symposium explores the nature of excellence gaps in the United States and internationally, with papers presenting new data on excellence gaps within the United States, across the globe using data from the major international assessments, and within the United States on the recently released science data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The symposium will conclude with a discussion of possible interventions to reverse the growth of excellence gaps nationally and internationally, including both education and policy initiatives.
Jonathan A. Plucker, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy
David J. Rutkowski, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy
Ronald A. Beghetto, University of Oregon
Jonathan A. Plucker, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy
Excellence Gap Research in the United States: A 20-Year Perspective
Nathan A. Burroughs, Institute for Research on Mathematics and Science Education
Science Excellence Gaps in the United States
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