This study explored the effects of race, gender, school poverty concentration and students’ and perceived peers’ educational values on mathematics achievement, controlling for prior mathematics achievement and highest level of mathematics taken.
The overall findings revealed that African-American students, females and those who attended schools with higher concentrations of poverty performed more poorly in mathematics than did their counterparts.
Although African-American students had higher self-reported educational values, and these values were associated with higher mathematics achievement, African-American students performed worse in mathematics than did White students.
This was possibly because African-American students had lower prior mathematics achievement than did White students, which had a much larger influence on mathematics achievement than did their educational values.
These findings suggest that there is something lacking in the mathematics preparation of African American and impoverished students.
Research has shown that both high-minority and high-poverty schools are more likely to have teachers with less experience and lower levels of education.
Additionally, these schools tend to have higher incidents of out of subject teaching. All these variables could contribute to the lack of quality education and lack of mathematics preparation African American and high-poverty concentration students experience.