The data for high school science becomes bleaker. On state Biology, Chemistry, and Physics standardized tests, African American and Latino proficiency rates were between one-half and one-third of white and Asian students’ rates (see chart).
Low-income students did substantially worse by race and ethnicity, but scores of low-income Asians exceeded those of high-income African American and Latino students.
There is a strong correlation between race and poverty; most Latino and African American families have low incomes, and low-income students on average do far worse than high-income students of the same race. But that’s not the full story. Low-income Asian students score higher than high-income African American and Latino students in 5th grade science and about equally in 4th grade math, suggesting factors such as home or school expectations. (Low-income whites do better than high-income Latinos and African Americans in 4th grade math as well.)The study suggested reasons for the gaps in scores among the races:
Rates of minority students in college have increased over the past decade, and African-American and Hispanic students now make up 26% of all undergrads (though still falls short of the 33% of the population they comprise). Yet when it comes to STEM, they’re simply not graduating at the same rates as their peers. By age 24, they’ll make up a very small percentage of the STEM graduate population, representing less than 2.7% of African-American 24-year-olds and 2.2% of Hispanic 24-year-olds.
Although the enrollment of minority freshmen in engineering has increased substantially during the last two decades, attrition has remained intractable. This document analyzes comparative data on the performance of institutions in retaining minority students through graduation. The objective of this effort was to identify characteristics of the most successful engineering schools and to explore the implications of those characteristics for all inst