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The black-white achievement gap has challenged educators in the United States over many decades. Not only are some students disenfranchised by an educational system designed for all citizens, but the racial divide presents an unrelenting social justice failure. Test score data from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) has been recorded for students aged 9, 13, and 17 from the late 1970s forward. While results showed some narrowing of the gap in 2007 compared with prior years, the gap continues to persist. During Fall semester 2011, eleven Educational Leadership graduate students (in EDA556 Leadership in Diverse Communities) studied the achievement gap by reviewing the statistical profiles in the NAEP data for specific ages in reading and math. They studied the strategies revealed in the metaanalysis of Ronald Ferguson, a Harvard professor and national leader in identifying strategies to ameliorate barriers to closing the gap. Students individually developed plans to become advocates for making the black-white achievement gap a priority in their work as aspiring school leaders with commitments to social justice. In this Stander Symposium 2012 poster presentation, students and their professors show the aggregated dimensions of those ideas. The poster displays evidence-based themes that could drive serious efforts by school leaders to take on the injustices that continue to plague the schools led by those in the professional roles to which these graduate students aspire.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Carolyn S. Ridenour

Primary Advisor's Department

Educational Leadership


Stander Symposium poster


This poster reflects research conducted as part of course project designed to give students experience in the research process.

Social Justice and the Black - White Achievement Gap