Feb 25, 2008

Faculty Honored for Research on the Racial Test Score Gap

Leanna Stiefel receiving the fist annual L. Douglas Wilder Award for Scholarship in Social Equity and Public Policy

NYU Wagner Professors Leanna Stiefel, Amy Ellen Schwartz, and Ingrid Gould Ellen have won the first annual L. Douglas Wilder Award for Scholarship in Social Equity and Public Policy. The award was given for their recent article in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management entitled "Disentangling the Racial Test Score Gap: Proving the Evidence in a Large Urban School District."

The Standing Panel on Social Equity of the Washington, D.C.-based National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), a 40-year-old organization, honored the professors at the Social Equity Leadership Conference on February 7, 2008, held at Arizona State University. The judges termed the work an example of exemplary scholarship and a substantial contribution to social equity, selecting it from a field of 15 finalists.

In the study, the professors measure the size and distribution of the racial and ethnic gaps in performance in New York City's elementary and middle schools. The data allow them to explore the role of many factors at the school and classroom level in shaping racial disparities. They are able to explain variations within and between schools, using a complete census of students. They also complement their analyses of the black/white test score gaps - standard in the research literature - with a wider focus that also compares whites with Hispanics and Asians.

Professors Stiefel, Schwartz and Ellen teach at NYU Wagner, while Professor Schwartz - who also teaches at NYU Steinhardt - directs NYU's Institute for Education and Social Policy, a partnership of Wagner and Steinhardt.

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