Color of Achievement

Racial inequality was entrenched in the American education system prior to the country's inception. The pernicious achievement gap exemplifies an enduring outcome of this historical legacy. Research on disparities in academic achievement is predominantly based on quantitative studies, mainly emphasizing resource allocation, parental involvement, and socioeconomic status, to name a few. The Color of Achievement uses mixed methods to interrogate inequality in three critical aspects of public education: the instructional framework, the curriculum content, and the standardized assessments. This research investigates education as a civil right by making visible salient themes of enacted and espoused values, common law, history, and hierarchies. 

In its initial phase, this project derives findings from mandated U.S. History courses and elevates educational practices by tracing how the process of colonization has shaped educational dynamics within an interdisciplinary course. Given the commonly overlooked significance of misaligned accountability in shaping the characterization of achievement, this study employs a critical racial analysis to circumvent the limitations inherent in the narrow and ahistorical approach often associated with quantitative research.

This project reconceptualizes the normative understanding of intellectual achievement. As a result of the comprehensive analysis, this research visualizes underlying structures that maintain disparate outcomes despite policy and practice interventions. This work can reframe the way practitioners and policymakers interact with the dynamics of educational disparities. 

Methodologically, this scholarship advances the innovative and rigorous research techniques used to determine the efficacy of educational interventions. This project improves upon the strengths and limitations of one-dimensional research by capturing the historicity of systemic practice. 

This research is an examination of a group of systems simultaneously defined by and meant to mitigate the achievement gap. The curriculum framework, curriculum, and standardized assessments represent three pillars of American public education, each impacting the way that schools are created and the outcomes of those schools, qualified by student achievement. The achievement gap is formed at the core of those three pillars.

The Color of Achievement: New York Case Study
Technical Report

This research interrogates the racial, gender, and socioeconomic inequality in three critical facets of New York City’s public education used to establish core learning: the instructional framework, the curriculum content, and the standardized assessments. This project maps the curriculum topics and the prioritization of learning embedded within the US History Regents exam. It investigates education as a fundamental and civil right by highlighting the narratives and perspectives of priority that emerge within the state-wide standardized assessment. The research makes visible salient themes, including enacted and espoused values, common law, racialized histories and hierarchies, and social capitalism within the curriculum and testing used in New York.

Read the report >>