First Advisor

Ben Anderson-Nathe

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Child and Family Studies and University Honors


Social Work


Academic achievement -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, Minority high school students -- United States, Educational equalization




Closing the achievement gap is one of the most talked about issues within the United States education system. The achievement gap refers to disproportionality in rates of achievement between white students and students of color. The question should not be how one closes the achievement gap but what factors contribute to the achievement gap and how these factors can be addressed. This paper looks at the achievement gap between white and black students on a national level, focusing on research addressing different factors pertaining to the gap. Five main factors contribute to the achievement gap between white and black students: neighborhood segregation, socioeconomic status, parent influence, school discipline and standardized testing. This thesis considers the role of each factor as it pertains to Portland Public School District’s racial achievement gap as evidenced by high school graduation rates, test scores, and dropout rates.


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