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Explaining Gender and Racial Disparities in Academics Using Report Card Comments: Bringing to Life “The Other Side of the Report Card” with Social-Emotional Learning

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Abstract:

Many studies have found gender and racial disparities in academic grades and standardized tests. One way to address these disparities is to promote Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) school-wide in order to teach students necessary life skills and to reduce potential staff biases. SEL teaches students how to regulate emotions, solve problems, and establish positive relationships. SEL has been shown to increase desired outcomes, including academic grades and standardized test scores, as well as to decrease undesired outcomes, including absenteeism and suspensions.

One problem faced by all school interventions is the collection of periodic data on student indicators. The SEL Indicators Project (SEL-IP) seeks to address this by using regular report card comments to measure SEL skills. Despite the fact that most parent-teacher time is spent discussing these comments and despite the millions of dollars put forth studying standardized tests and academic grades, little work has been done studying the validity of behavioral ratings and comments on typical report cards. We hypothesize that after controlling for positive/negative comments on the report cards, gender and racial disparities will disappear for grades and standardized tests.

We will present data from report cards and standardized tests from 2004-2005 for 302 students in a large, racially-mixed high school in Northern New Jersey. About half of the students are female, about one-third are White, about half are Black, and about five percent are Hispanic. Report card comments were organized into 6 categories according to theoretical constructs and confirmed using statistical analyses.

Preliminary analyses revealed that females had higher language/literature grades than males, Whites had higher math grades than Blacks, and Whites had higher math scores than Blacks on standardized tests. After controlling for report card comments, grade disparities disappeared and standardized test score disparities were reduced. Implications, future directions, and limitations will be addressed.
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Name: SCRA Biennial Meeting
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http://www.scra27.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p497342_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Moceri, Dominic., White, Gwyne., Reyes, Jazmin. and Elias, Maurice. "Explaining Gender and Racial Disparities in Academics Using Report Card Comments: Bringing to Life “The Other Side of the Report Card” with Social-Emotional Learning" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SCRA Biennial Meeting, Roosevelt University/Harold Washington Library, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p497342_index.html>

APA Citation:

Moceri, D. C., White, G. , Reyes, J. and Elias, M. "Explaining Gender and Racial Disparities in Academics Using Report Card Comments: Bringing to Life “The Other Side of the Report Card” with Social-Emotional Learning" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SCRA Biennial Meeting, Roosevelt University/Harold Washington Library, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p497342_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Many studies have found gender and racial disparities in academic grades and standardized tests. One way to address these disparities is to promote Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) school-wide in order to teach students necessary life skills and to reduce potential staff biases. SEL teaches students how to regulate emotions, solve problems, and establish positive relationships. SEL has been shown to increase desired outcomes, including academic grades and standardized test scores, as well as to decrease undesired outcomes, including absenteeism and suspensions.

One problem faced by all school interventions is the collection of periodic data on student indicators. The SEL Indicators Project (SEL-IP) seeks to address this by using regular report card comments to measure SEL skills. Despite the fact that most parent-teacher time is spent discussing these comments and despite the millions of dollars put forth studying standardized tests and academic grades, little work has been done studying the validity of behavioral ratings and comments on typical report cards. We hypothesize that after controlling for positive/negative comments on the report cards, gender and racial disparities will disappear for grades and standardized tests.

We will present data from report cards and standardized tests from 2004-2005 for 302 students in a large, racially-mixed high school in Northern New Jersey. About half of the students are female, about one-third are White, about half are Black, and about five percent are Hispanic. Report card comments were organized into 6 categories according to theoretical constructs and confirmed using statistical analyses.

Preliminary analyses revealed that females had higher language/literature grades than males, Whites had higher math grades than Blacks, and Whites had higher math scores than Blacks on standardized tests. After controlling for report card comments, grade disparities disappeared and standardized test score disparities were reduced. Implications, future directions, and limitations will be addressed.


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