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Note the over-/under-representation in special populations

Posted By: Ross Mitchell on February 19, 2003
A recent Nat'l Acad Press publication discusses some major SES & cultural background related determinants/correlates:


This piece is important because the matter of environmental toxicity, especially lead poisoning, receives direct attention. Other relationships are discussed as well.

To reinforce another suggestion posted previously, you should take a look at Jim Popham's work. He helps to point out how the practice of selecting items with high discrimination power for norm-referenced tests reinforces SES/cultural bias in testing. His catch phrase is that these items with high discrimination are instructionally INSENSITIVE and, thus, not indicative of what the schools are doing successfully. Instead, these items point to non-school related effects, like SES and culture.

Finally, take a look at almost any issue of Sociology of Education and you will find some aspect of this problem addressed. However, most of the articles in Soc of Educ address secondary school student performance, not pre-school student performance.

As a lead for early childhood findings, I would look for studies utilizing the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS). This is an on-going study; background information and links to studies are available through NCES:


Good luck!


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 Effects of Socioeconomic Status (SES) and Cultural Background on Standardized Testing Results by Carol Watts on February 5, 2003
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