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Journal Article: Secondary Mathematics Teachers' Perceptions of the Achievement Gap

Journal Article » Secondary Mathematics Teachers' Perceptions of the Achievement Gap


High School Teachers, Mathematics Achievement, Teacher Attitudes


Bol, Linda; Berry, Robert Q., III


2005, Apr-May


The purpose of this study was to survey the perceptions of secondary mathematics teachers on factors contributing to the achievement gap and ways to reduce this gap. National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) members were surveyed, and a total of 379 secondary teachers responded. Overall, respondents were most likely to attribute the achievement gap to student characteristics, such as differences in motivational levels, work ethic, and family support. Furthermore, teachers from schools with a higher population of White students were more likely to attribute the gap to student characteristics than were teachers in schools with higher percentages of minority students. Mathematics supervisors and university faculty were less likely to attribute the achievement gap to student characteristics than were middle and high school teachers. Instead, the supervisors and university faculty were more likely to endorse explanations related to curriculum and instruction than were secondary teachers. In terms of attributing the achievement gap to factors related to language, we found that the higher the percentage of Hispanic or Latino students in the respondents' schools, the more likely they were to endorse Language items. Suggestions for reducing the achievement gap centered on professional development for teachers, curricular changes, community building, and policies that included more funding equity and a reduction in class size. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA ) (journal abstract)