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High Achievers

"Heterogeneity in High Math Achievement Across Schools"

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Even among high schools with a demographic mix that suggests students are likely to succeed in mathematics, there is striking school-to-school variation in the share of top-achieving math students, according to a studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 2,000 socioeconomically advantaged high schools across the country. A small subset of those public schools, about 4 percent, had rates of high fliers at least three times the average for the study sample—and a handful had rates 10 times higher.

The variation is even more pronounced for girls, according to the study.

"Our biggest finding is that schools do seem to matter a lot for high-achieving students," said Glenn Ellison, an economics professor at MIT. He is a co-author of the study, published as a working paper this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass.

Vol. 32, Issue 01, Page 5

Published in Print: August 22, 2012, as High Achievers
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