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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Achievement inequality stands out as a vexing issue for educators and researchers alike. While schools are not the only source of inequality, policy makers often look to schools to address the problem. This chapter reviews evidence-based approaches to school interventions intended to reduce U.S. achievement inequality for children from ethnic and racial minority groups and those with low socioeconomic status. The key challenge in assessing school-based interventions is distinguishing program effects from effects of selection into programs. School-based randomized trials are an important response to this challenge and evidence from randomized interventions deserves special weight, but experiments also have limitations and it is appropriate to review a broader literature, including mixed-methods studies, while bearing in mind the quality of evidence available. Large-scale interventions such as school desegregation, class-size reduction, and comprehensive school reform have revealed some benefits for reducing inequality. Research on more localized interventions such as tutoring, parent involvement, and reduction of stereotype threat may hold even greater promise for reducing inequality, but the size and generalizability of their effects is still uncertain.

Keywords: schools, achievement, desegregation, class size, educational inequality, randomized controlled trials, mixed-methods research, sociology of education

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