MDRC in the News
Racial Disparities in STEM Start as Early as Kindergarten, New Study Finds
Inequities in science and math achievement begin as soon as students enter school, a new study shows—a finding that suggests schools should be providing earlier support and encouragement for students of color in STEM fields, the researchers say…..
…..Starting in kindergarten, a greater share of white and Asian students met that marker than Black and Latino students. The gaps persisted, and in some cases widened, as students moved through elementary school.
These gaps are troubling because other studies have shown that elementary school math and science achievement can predict later interest and success in STEM, said Paul Morgan, a professor of education at Penn State’s College of Education and the lead author on the paper…..
…..In general, the results suggest that creating more or better opportunities for math and science learning before kindergarten could be helpful for developing students’ interest and abilities, Morgan added. That could occur in a formal setting, like preschool, or at home…..
…..A 2018 study from research firm MDRC found extra support in the early years of school makes a difference. Researchers determined that participating in both a math-focused preschool curriculum and extracurricular math clubs helped close some of the gap between low-income kindergartners and their higher-income peers.