Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Malecki, Christine K.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Psychology; Educational tests & measurements; Elementary education; Academic achievement--Examinations--Research; Educational evaluation--Research; Reading--Ability testing--Research; School children--Education (Elementary)--Research


The goals of this study were to evaluate achievement gaps between varying sub-group populations (i.e., ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status) as well as estimate which student-level and or school-level characteristics account for variance in reading growth over time. This longitudinal study followed a cohort of 2,077 students (1st -- 5th grade) nested within one school district's 21 elementary schools. The participant's early literacy (Letter Sound Fluency), reading-curriculum based measure (R-CBM), and Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) scores were analyzed utilizing univariate and multivariate analyses of variance (ANOVAs and MANOVAs). School-level characteristics were entered into hierarchical linear models to evaluate variance in reading growth trends across time. Outcomes identified significant mean differences between varying ethnic, gender, and socio-economic (SES) groups; with Asian and White students scoring higher than their African American and Hispanic/Latino peers, females scoring higher than males, and high SES students scoring higher than their low SES peers. Follow-up analyses showed significant interactions between varying ethnic and SES group populations; with African American students eliminating the African American-White gap under high SES conditions. Finally, hierarchical models showed that on average Asian and White students scored higher on R-CBM and ISAT assessments than their African American and Hispanic/Latino peers across time; similar findings were shown between gender and SES groups. Models also revealed that Asian and African American students demonstrated significant decelerations in R-CBM growth across time in comparison to their White and Hispanic/Latino peers. These analyses provided little evidence to support the impact of school-level characteristics on existing differences in sub-group growth rates. The implications of this study expand achievement gap research and provide more evidence to deepen our understanding of the achievement gap.


Advisors: Christine K. Malecki.||Committee members: Vicki L. Collins; Michelle K. Demaray; Vinita Menon; Laura D. Pittman; Gregory A. Waas.


181 pages




Northern Illinois University

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