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Closing the Achievement Gap and Marginal Man Theory (Research Paper Sample)


Write a 15 page (not counting cover page and references page) theoretical literature review on a theory related to your research topic (Closing the Achievement Gap and Marginal Man Theory). In the paper, provide a background of the theory, proponent of the theory, the core tenets of the theory, a review of 5 peer reviewed journal articles showing how the theory is used by scholars in the literature, and which aspects of the theory you wish to apply to your study, the ration


Closing the Achievement Gap and Marginal Man Theory
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Closing the Achievement Gap and Marginal Man Theory
Despite their high school achievement, students from different economic groups perform differently in college and other forms of higher education. This happens even if they had the same level of academic achievement when leaving high school. College achievement gaps are usually quantified in terms of grade point averages, course grades, or retentions after accounting for precollege scores such as college admission test scores and high school GPA. The commonly used term for achievement gaps at the college level is differential prediction (Lorah & Ndum, 2013). The achievement gap can be described as the difference between the academic performance of two groups in a society. Assari et al. (2021) defines achievement gap as the differences in academic performance of African American students and other races with their Caucasian counterparts. In the US, the societal groups which form the basis for comparison keep varying.
For instance, in the early 20th century, the societal groups were the poor children of Italian and Eastern European immigrants and the wealthy American children of Western European descent. The US government has made deliberate attempts to address racial minority educational discrepancies. For instance, in Brown versus Board Education, the court held that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Even then, the focus on the achievement gap did not gain ground until the 1970s when the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) started measuring students’ progress over time. Some of the reasons why the academic achievement among Asian, African American, Native and Caucasian Americans is unequa; include resegregarion and incosnsitent parental involvement. Agencies focused on education such as the National Educational Association (NEA) have particularly relied on the measurements to identify groups affected by the achievement gap.
According to NEA, some of the groups that have substantial gulfs in educational achievement gap include female students, students from low income families, students learning or using English as a second language, students with disabilities, and students from racial minorities, biracial, or multiracial societies. Some of the measures of achievement discrepancy include achievement benchmarks such as high school or college diplomas, access to educational opportunities, and test scores. As revealed in the subsequent paragraph, several scholars have explored academic achievement from different angles. However, this study focuses on the achievement gap with respect to students from racial minorities using the marginal man theory.
Previous Literature on the Achievement Gap
A wide range of literature exists on achievement gap in the US. According to Tucker-Drob (2012), the continued performance of children is based on their kindergarten entry grades. According to him, consideration of kindergarten entry grades takes into account social inequalities at the community, family, and school environment level. Income inequalities is one of the main reasons why children from lower income families attend lower quality schools. Schools are expected to be the equalizers of disparities due to social economic inequalities. However, this has not always been the case. According to Cheng and Lively (2009), organized childcare before kindergarten is necessary to help reduce disparities in academic achievement. The quantitative study revealed that pre school attendance helped reduce achievement disparities significantly. According to Tucker-Drob (2012), exposing children to transition practices such as spending time in kindergarten or being visited by a teacher at home, enrolling children to full time classes instead of part time classes, and placing bthem in formal center based programs also helped reduced the achievement gap. Students enrolled at an earlier age were also found to have a lesser achievement gap compared to their counterparts who were enrolled lat. Therefore, pre school attendance and factors such as early entry and formality of the program were critical in reducing the achievement gap of kindergarten school children.
It is agreeable that racial and ethnic differences characterize the US educational system. In their study, Hanselman et al. (2014) observe that racial and ethnic differences continue to trouble the US educational system. According to them, the progress made towards addressing the achievement gap for African Americans in the twentieth century stalled. The widening of the achievement gap for the expanding Hispanic population is equally concerning. The research which adopted a quantitative research technique found out that brief targeted writing execrcises resulted in racial achievement gaps. However, these noticeable reductions were observable only in specific schools. Further findings focused on how social psychological mechanisms affected student achievement. According to Hanselman et al. (2014), the presence of racial minorities was beneficial to the potentially susceptible students. Hispanic students performed poorer than their counterparts from other races. As a result, they recommended further support of marginalized racial and ethnic groups to close the achievement gap.
The recognition of multiracial people in the US has undoubtedly increased since the 1970s. The number of children with multiracial parents in the US increased significantly following the ruling against state antimiscegenation laws (Herman, 2009). As a result, multiracial people continue to attract the attention of the media. In equal measure, multiracial individuals continue to attract individual and institutional racial discrimination. Due to these challenges, multiracial adolescents need to manage racism from from all angles. They particularly need to to be equipped with adequate skills to help them cope in the adult world. As (Herman, 2009), their social identity needs to be enhanced. In his review of past research about how theories support research on the prevalence achievement gap, Herman (2009) observes that none of the theories explains the differences in complexities of differences in achievement among multiracial students.
According to Herman (2009) most of the theories mistakenly assume that a single race culture drives the achievement behavior in each racial group. Based on that knowledge, they commissioned a studt to examine the performance patterns of monoracial and multiracial students and how they fitted the various theories. The theories covered by Herman (2009) include genetics, environment and multiracial achievement. They found out thet ethnic identity and experiences of ethnic discrimination were not strong factors for explaining the academic performance of monoracial or multiracial students. Instead, the academic performance of the students was best explained by the educational values held by the students and their peers, their racial composition, and beliefs about the consequences of school failure. The findings agree with Marsha and Ricks (2014) who investigated the extent that parental involvement and ethnicity impacted the academic achievement of students of Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, and African American backgrounds. Native Americans were also considered.
According to Marsha and Ricks (2014), achievement gap is determined by factors such as parenting lifestyles, social class, family income, structure of the learning institution, family structure, and the desegregation, and segregation. It is agreeable that the family structure is a critical component of parental involvement. Families are usually comprised of single parents or both parents. Agreeably, most single parent families are headed by the mother. Most of these families headed by single mothers tend to be poorer than families with both parents. Children brought up in those families have fewer role models and are rarely mentored. As a result, they may portray different social and psychological characteristics from their peers from intact families. Single parent families are more common among Latinos and African Americans as opposed to Asian Americans. As Hanselman et al. (2014) observe, single parents are less likely to be involved in their children’s education than both parents. Less involvement could make the child feel marginalized which could impact their performance.
Desegregation and resegregation also impact the achievement gap of students. The findings by Marsha and Ricks (2014) reveal that the Southern and Western public schools attended by Caucasian students in the US were more interracially mixed than the Northern and Southern regions. The population of students of color was estimated at 40 percent in the entire US and 50% in the West and South regions (Lorah & Ndum, 2013). The number of Asians and Latinos is particularly on the increase which means that in the next few years, the South and West regions will be multiracial communities. The regions continue to experience a widening achievement gap for African Americans and Caucasian students. One of the reasons for the widening gap is the failure to address the contributing factors. Marsha and Ricks (2014) cite neighborhood disadvantage as one of the major contributors of achievement gap for African Americans and Caucasians. In his view, not all regions are endowed with the same amount of resources, human capital, and social capital. Neighborhood disadvantage manifests in the form of single parenting, social economic status categorization, and racism. Overcoming the challenges of neighborhood disadvantages is one ...

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