Desegregation and black achievement

by Robert L. Crain, Rita E. Mahard

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Reviews 73 studies of effect of desegregation on black achievement. A majority conclude that desegregation has a beneficial effect on black achievement test scores. This agrees with various national surveys that have found black achievement higher in predominantly white schools. However, a number of studies have not found higher black test scores after desegregation. Partly this is due to methodology as the weaker studies are less likely to find positive effects. But it also seems that certain desegregation plans are less likely to have positive effects. Desegregation is noticeably more likely to have a positive impact on black test scores if it begins in the earliest grades, and effects are especially likely to be positive for first graders. One other finding is suggested: voluntary desegregation plans are less likely to yield positive results than mandatory plans.

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