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The Black-white Test Score Gap
by Christopher Jencks And Meredith Phillips
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Ever since affirmative action was adopted as a wide-ranging policy in education and employment, controversy has surrounded it. Opinions have flown thick and fast, but there has been little hard evidence to support either side. The prosaically named Black-White Test Score Gap, a collection of essays on the subject, attempts to rectify this situation. As one authority after another weighs in, it becomes increasingly clear that the causes of African Americans' inferior scores on standardized tests have less to do with nature and everything to do with nurture (or lack of it). Not surprisingly, conditions such as poverty and lack of opportunity at the beginning of a child's life seems to have terribly detrimental effects on test scores and thus the chance to go to school or find a well-paying job later on. Editors Christopher Jencks and Meredith Phillips have done a good job of selecting both the topics and the contributors for this often contentious, always fascinating study of affirmative action.
The New York Times Book Review, Alan Wolfe
...the bulk of the material in this book leaves the reader with the sense that the causes are deep and difficult to overcome.
Card catalog description
The test score gap between blacks and whites - on vocabulary, reading, and math tests, as well as on tests that claim to measure scholastic aptitude and intelligence - is large enough to have far-reaching social and economic consequences. In their introduction to this book, Christopher Jencks and Meredith Phillips argue that eliminating the disparity would dramatically reduce economic and educational inequality between blacks and whites. Indeed, they think that closing the gap would do more to promote racial equality than any other strategy now under serious discussion. The book offers a comprehensive look at the factors that contribute to the test score gap and discusses options for substantially reducing it.
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