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Racial Bias and the Black-White Test Score Gap

Despite growing evidence of connections between racial bias and racial disparities in academic outcomes, far less scholarship considers racial bias on the community level. Collective Racial Bias and the Black-White Test Score Gap, a recent study by Francis A. Pearman II of Stanford University, examines the relationship between county-level estimates of racial bias and Black-white test score gaps.

Emerging from this study were two findings: one, counties with higher levels of racial bias had larger Black-white test score disparities and two, the relationship was explained by greater segregation and larger racial gaps in gifted and special education placement among schools in counties with higher rates of racial bias.

This study is an important contribution to understanding the influence of racial bias and inequity on practices, policies, and procedures in education.

By Andrew Edghill

Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.