Individual, Family, and Community Education ETDs


Renee Delgado

Publication Date



Academic achievement gaps have been a topic of study for researchers within the United States of America for many decades because there has been a steady achievement disparity between White students and students of color. The mathematics achievement gap for the largest growing population, Hispanic students, has not changed when compared to White students over the last few decades (Dillon, 2009; Hemphill, Vanneman, & Rahman, 2011; Perie, Moran, & Lutkus, 2005). Utilizing mathematics achievement scores from students in 3rd-5th grades in a large Southwestern Urban School District, levels of math achievement between White and Hispanic students were compared to examine the achievement gap in elementary school. The objective of this research was to address two research questions, one, how does math achievement between White and Hispanic students vary over time, within and across schools and two, whether controlling for other student factors may partly or completely explain differences in math achievement. A multilevel growth curve model was used to examine the initial levels of, and changes in, achievement for White and Hispanic students within schools and how this varies across schools. In addition, a series of growth models examined trajectories of math achievement and how student characteristics (e.g., Gender, eligibility for Free and Reduced Lunch, and English Language Learner status) may explain these disparities between White and Hispanic students above and beyond ethnicity and how this varies across schools. Results found evidence s significant math achievement gap between Hispanic and White students even when controlling for additional student characteristics. The math achievement gap exists across schools, however the magnitude is different depending on the school context. Overall, more energy and resources need to be invested in understanding the achievement gap prior to developing holistic and contextual interventions.


Mathematics, Achievement Gap, Growth Models

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Psychology

Level of Degree


Department Name

Individual, Family, and Community Education

First Advisor

Selig, James

First Committee Member (Chair)

Flowerday, Terri

Second Committee Member

Jones, Martin

Third Committee Member

Winograd, Peter