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Underachievement and African American Students

For over 20 years, the achievement gap has been a central focus for educational policies. For example, policies such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top were created to ensure the success of all students, especially for those students considered to be underachieving. However, since the 1980s and according to National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, those policies have not decreased the achievement gap, and the underachievement of African American students continues.

Underachievement refers to the discrepancy between (1) intelligence scores and achievement scores, (2) intelligence tests and grades/grade point average (GPA), (3) achievement scores and GPA, and (4) expectations of educators/caregivers and a measure of student performance. Using these definitions and measures, a good many African American students are underachieving. For ...

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