Low Income Top Students Lose Ground In High School

April 6th, 2014

This week, the Ed Trust released a report showing that many black and Latino students and students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds who enter high school as top academic performers lose important ground as they progress toward graduation day. These students start secondary school at similar academic levels as their high-achieving white and more advantaged peers, but leave with lower AP exam passage rates, lower SAT/ACT scores, and lower GPAs, leading to different postsecondary outcomes. The data suggest that schools could benefit from thinking deeply about the instructional quality, support, and culture they provide, all of which influence the experiences of high-achieving students.

The report, “Falling out of the Lead,” is the latest in the Shattering Expectations series, which examines the achievement gap at the higher end of the achievement spectrum. To better understand the data, the Ed Trust also interviewed high-achieving, low-income students to hear about their experiences and their advice for schools on how to help top performers maintain their academic standing. Ed Trust also profiles Ohio’s Columbus Alternative High School — a diverse high school where nearly all students graduate and where 4 out of 10 graduates pass their AP exams — to learn how educators there grow the capacities of all students.


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