The Evolution of the Black-White Test Score Gap in Grades K-3: The Fragility of Results
Although both economists and psychometricians typically treat them as interval scales, test scores are reported using ordinal scales. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study and the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey, we examine the effect of order-preserving scale transformations on the evolution of the black-white reading test score gap from kindergarten entry through third grade. Plausible transformations reverse the growth of the gap in the CNLSY and greatly mitigate it in the ECLS-K during early school years. All growth from entry through first grade and a nontrivial proportion from first to third grade probably reflects scaling decisions.
We are grateful to Henry Braun, Sandy Jencks, Dan Koretz, Sunny Ladd, Ed Lazear, Michael Manove, Dick Murnane, Sean Reardon and participants in seminars and workshops at Baruch College, Boston University, Brown, Sciences Po and Stanford for helpful comments and suggestions. The usual caveat applies. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Timothy N. Bond & Kevin Lang, 2013. "The Evolution of the Black-White Test Score Gap in Grades Kâ3: The Fragility of Results," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1468-1479, December. citation courtesy of