The Racial, Ethnic, and Social Class Achievement Gaps: A Systems Analysis

Alan Kibbe Gaynor


This system dynamics analysis draws on the literature to outline the factors commonly discussed as predictive of and, perhaps, causally related to problematic differences in academic achievement among students who vary in race, ethnicity, and social class. It first treats these as a wide-ranging set of exogenous variables, many of which interact with each other, all of which influence academic achievement. “Causal-Influence Diagrams” are drawn to show these complex interactions. Then a distinction is drawn among the “traditional” school, the “gap-closing” school, and the “exceptional” school.
In a subsequent section of the paper, variables that are not a part of the internal institutional system of schooling are mostly stripped away. In this section, a typology is presented and a distinction is drawn between two generic types of schools in contrast to what might be called the “traditional” school: the “gap-closing” school and the “exceptional” school.

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International Education Studies ISSN 1913-9020 (Print), ISSN 1913-9039 (Online)

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