IES Blog

Institute of Education Sciences

New Report Shows Increased Diversity in U.S. Schools, Disparities in Outcomes

The school-age population in the United States is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. An NCES report released in February 2019, Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2018, examines how education experiences and outcomes vary among racial/ethnic groups. The report contains 36 indicators that cover preprimary to postsecondary education, as well as family background characteristics and labor force outcomes.

Between 2000 and 2017, the percentage of 5- to 17-year-olds who were White decreased from 62 to 51 percent, while the percentage who were Hispanic increased from 16 to 25 percent.

 


Figure 1. Percentage distribution of the U.S. resident population ages 5–17, by race/ethnicity: 2000 and 2017

# Rounds to zero.

NOTE: Data are for the resident population as of July 1 of the indicated year.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, 2000 Population Estimates, retrieved August 14, 2012, from http://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/asrh/2011/index.html; and 2017 Population Estimates, retrieved September 5, 2017, from https://www.census.gov/data/datasets/2016/demo/popest/nation-detail.html. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 101.20.


 

Prior research shows that living in poverty during early childhood is associated with lower-than-average academic performance that begins in kindergarten[1] and extends through high school, leading to lower-than-average rates of school completion.[2] In 2016, the percentages of children living in poverty were highest for Black and American Indian/Alaska Native children and lowest for White and Asian children.

 


Figure 2. Percentage of children under age 18 living in poverty, by race/ethnicity: 2016

NOTE: Data shown are based only on related children in a family; that is, all children in the household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption (except a child who is the spouse of the householder).

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2016. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 102.60.


 

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—given to a representative sample of students across the United States—measures student performance over time in various subjects (including reading, math, and science) at grades 4, 8, and 12. Average grade 4 reading scores were higher in 2017 than in 1992 for the racial/ethnic groups with available data. Between 1992 and 2017, the White-Black score gap narrowed from 32 points in 1992 to 26 points in 2017. However, the White-Hispanic gap in 2017 was not measurably different from the corresponding gap in 1992.

 


Figure 3. Average National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scale scores of grade 4 students, by selected race/ethnicity: 1992 and 2017

NOTE: Includes public and private schools. Testing accommodations (e.g., extended time, small group testing) for children with disabilities and English language learners were not permitted in 1992.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1992 and 2017 Reading Assessments, NAEP Data Explorer. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 221.10.


 

Looking at higher education, between 2000 and 2016, the largest changes in the racial/ethnic composition of undergraduate students were for White students and Hispanic students. The share of undergraduates who were White decreased from 70 to 56 percent, and the share who were Hispanic increased from 10 to 19 percent.

 


Figure 4. Percentage of total undergraduate student enrollment in degree-granting institutions, by race/ethnicity: Fall 2000 and fall 2016

NOTE: Other includes Asian students, Pacific Islander students, and students of Two or more races.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Spring 2001 and Spring 2017, Fall Enrollment component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 306.10.


 

Postsecondary graduation rates vary widely by racial/ethnic group. For instance, among first-time students at 4-year institutions who enrolled in 2010, 74 percent of Asian students had graduated within 6 years. This was approximately 35 percentage points higher than the graduation rates for American Indian/Alaska Native students and Black students.   

 


Figure 5: Graduation rates within 6 years from first institution attended for first-time, full-time bachelor's degree-seeking students at 4-year postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity: Cohort entry year 2010

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Winter 2016–17, Graduation Rates component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 326.10.


 

The report also includes a new spotlight indicator, which highlights institutions that serve a large number of students from minority racial and ethnic groups. For instance, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are defined as “any historically Black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of Black Americans.” In fall 2016, there were 102 HBCUs that enrolled over 292,000 students, 77 percent of whom were Black.

 



 

The spotlight also highlights other groups of minority-serving institutions—Hispanic-serving institutions, Tribally controlled colleges and universities, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions—describes how an institution is recognized as belonging to one of these groups, and discusses other institution characteristics, such as enrollment and degrees conferred.

For more information, visit the report’s website, where you can browse the indicators or download the full report

 

By Cris de Brey

 


[1] Mulligan, G.M., Hastedt, S., and McCarroll, J.C. (2012). First-Time Kindergartners in 2010–11: First Findings From the Kindergarten Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011) (NCES 2012-049). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012049.

[2] Ross, T., Kena, G., Rathbun, A., KewalRamani, A., Zhang, J., Kristapovich, P., and Manning, E. (2012). Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study (NCES 2012-046). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012046.

A Closer Look at the National Indian Education Study

While many NCES reports and products compare data between racial and ethnic groups, it is important to remember that outcomes can also differ substantially for individuals within these individual groups. The National Indian Education Study (NIES), part of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), is one way that NCES tries to look at the diverse experiences of a particular group of students.

One of the primary goals of NIES is to collect and report data for subgroups of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students.  NCES released an initial report on the results of the 2015 NIES in early 2017 that focused on differences across three mutually exclusive school types:

  • Low density public schools (where less than 25 percent of all students in the school were AI/AN)
  • High density public schools (where 25 percent or more of all the students in the school were AI/AN)
  • Bureau of Indian Education schools

A recently released follow up report, National Indian Education Study 2015:  A Closer Look builds on the findings of the first report and focuses, in part, on NAEP 2015 assessment differences within the AI/AN student group. Although NIES provides a large enough sample size to facilitate comparisons among groups of AI/AN students, it is important to note that AI/AN students are diverse linguistically, culturally, geographically, economically, and in many other ways. By focusing specifically on this student group, NCES is able to highlight the educational experiences and related academic outcomes of these students.

National Indian Education Study 2015: A Closer Look reveals some significant differences when comparing AI/AN students performing at or above the 75th percentile (referred to in the report as “higher-performing”) with those performing below the 25th percentile (referred to as “lower-performing”). For example, higher-performing students in both mathematics and reading and in both grades 4 and 8 were more likely to have: 

  • A school library, media center, or resource center that contained materials about AI/AN people,
  • More than 25 books in their homes, and
  • A computer at home that they use.

A Technical Review Panel of American Indian and Alaska Native educators and researchers from across the country provides guidance on the study. Their expertise helps to ensure that this report will provide valuable, and much needed information to AI/AN educational stakeholders. In addition, whereas most other NCES reports are now electronic-only, hard copies of the NIES report are also produced in support of making them available for those AI/AN educational stakeholders who may not have easy access to the internet. This report is also unique in that the Technical Review Panel issued a statement highlighting the importance of this study and providing a brief overview of the overall context of AI/AN education, which may be helpful to readers as they read the report. This statement is available online at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/resources.html

 

By Jamie Deaton

New Report on Crime and Safety in Schools and College Campuses

Crime in the nation’s schools and college campuses has declined overall during the past two decades, according to a report released on April 17, 2019. Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2018 highlights new information on a wide array of data points, including youth opioid use, perceptions of bullying, and active shooter incidents in educational settings. The report also covers topics such as victimization, school conditions, school environment, safety and security measures at school, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions.

In 2017, students ages 12–18 experienced 827,000 total victimizations (i.e., theft and nonfatal violent victimization) at school and 503,800 total victimizations away from school. These figures represent a rate of 33 victimizations per 1,000 students at school, compared to 20 victimizations per 1,000 students away from school. From 1992 to 2017, the total victimization rate and rates of specific crimes—thefts, violent victimizations, and serious violent victimizations—declined for students ages 12–18, both at school and away from school.

This edition of Indicators of School Crime and Safety includes an analysis of active shooter incidents, which represent a small subset of the possible violent incidents that occur at schools. While rare, these events are of high concern to all those interested in the safety of our nation’s students. From 2000 to 2017, there were 37 active shooter incidents at elementary and secondary schools and 15 active shooter incidents at postsecondary institutions. During this period, there were 153 casualties (67 killed and 86 wounded) in active shooter incidents at elementary and secondary schools, and 143 casualties (70 killed and 73 wounded) in active shooter incidents at postsecondary institutions.

Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, the most recent period available, there were 18 homicides of school-age youth (ages 5–18) at a school out of the 1,478 homicides of school-age youth in the United States. During the same period, 3 of the 1,941 total suicides of school-age youth occurred at school.

In 2017, about 20 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year. Between 2005 and 2017, the percentage of students who reported being bullied at school declined overall and for most of the student and school characteristics examined.

 



 

Of the students who were bullied in 2017, about 56 percent felt that those who had bullied them had the ability to influence what other students thought of them. A higher percentage of female students (62 percent) than male students (48 percent) reported that those who bullied them had the ability to influence what other students thought of them.

 



 

The new report included a special analysis that shows that the percentage of 8th-graders who reported using heroin during the past 12 months decreased from 1.4 percent in 1995 to 0.3 percent in 2017. The percentage also decreased from 1.1 to 0.2 percent for 10th-graders and from 1.1 to 0.4 percent for 12th-graders during the same period. This 0.4 percent of 12th graders reflects 15,900 students, who were recent users of heroin. The use of OxyContin and Vicodin during the past 12 months also generally decreased for 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders between 2005 (the first year of data collection for these survey items) and 2017.

 



 

There were also decreases for other types of substance abuse. The percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported using alcohol at least once during the previous 30 days decreased from 47 to 30 percent between 2001 and 2017. Also, the percentage of students in grades 9–12 reporting marijuana use at least 1 time during the previous 30 days in 2017 (20 percent) was lower than the percentage for 2001 (24 percent).

Other findings – elementary and secondary schools

  • About 99 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they observed the use of at least one of the selected safety and security measures at their schools in 2017. The three most commonly observed safety and security measures were a written code of student conduct (95 percent), a requirement that visitors sign in and wear visitor badges or stickers (90 percent), and the presence of school staff (other than security guards or assigned police officers) or other adults supervising the hallway (88 percent).
  • About 6 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being called hate-related words at school during the school year in 2017, representing a decrease from 12 percent in 2001. This percentage also decreased between 2001 and 2017 for male and female students as well as for White, Black, and Hispanic students.
  • The percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported having been in a physical fight anywhere in the previous 12 months decreased between 2001 and 2017 (from 33 to 24 percent), as did the percentage of students in these grades who reported having been in a physical fight on school property (from 13 to 9 percent).

 



 

Other findings – postsecondary Institutions

  • The number of on-campus crimes reported in 2016 was lower than the number reported in 2001 for every category except forcible sex offenses and negligent manslaughter offenses. The number of reported forcible sex crimes on campus increased from 2,200 in 2001 to 8,900 in 2016 (a 305 percent increase).
  • Race, religion, and sexual orientation were the categories of motivating bias most frequently associated with the 1,070 hate crimes reported on college campuses in 2016.

To view the full report, please visit https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2019047.

A Closer Look at the Performance of Hispanic and Asian Subgroups

Breaking down data by racial and ethnic groups, such as White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian, can provide a better understanding of education performance and outcomes than just looking at overall outcomes. But these broad racial/ethnic groupings can still be large enough to hide important information and nuances about student performance and outcomes.  

A recent NCES report, Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2018, examines current conditions and changes over time in education activities and outcomes for members of racial and ethnic groups in the United States. The report also uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey[1] to examine outcomes for U.S. and foreign-born individuals who identify with specific Hispanic and Asian ancestry subgroups (e.g., Mexican, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Asian Indian).[2] For example, although 11 percent of Asian children under age 18 were living in poverty in 2016, the child poverty rate differed by more than 30 percentage points across the selected Asian subgroups—ranging from 6 percent each for Asian Indian, Filipino, and Japanese children to 37 percent for Bangladeshi children.

These differences among subgroups were seen in other measures as well, including college participation and attainment.

 

COLLEGE PARTICIPATION RATES

The College Participation Rates indicator shows the total college enrollment rate, meaning the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in 2- or 4-year colleges and universities.

  • In 2016, the Hispanic average college enrollment rate was 36 percent. However, among Hispanic subgroups, the average college enrollment rate ranged from 27 percent for Honduran 18- to 24-year-olds to 64 percent for Chilean 18- to 24-year-olds. (See figure 1 below.)
  • In 2016, the Asian average college enrollment rate was 67 percent. However, among Asian subgroups, the average college enrollment rate ranged from 23 percent for Burmese 18- to 24-year-olds to 78 percent for Chinese 18- to 24-year-olds.

 



 

ATTAINMENT OF A BACHELOR'S OR HIGHER DEGREE

The Attainment of a Bachelor’s or Higher Degree indicator shows the percentage of adults (25 or older) who earned at least a bachelor’s degree.

  • In 2016, about 15 percent of Hispanic adults had earned a bachelor’s or higher degree. However, among Hispanic subgroups, the percentage ranged from 9 percent for Salvadoran and Guatemalan adults to 55 percent for Venezuelan adults.
  • In 2016, about 54 percent of Asian adults had earned a bachelor’s or higher degree. However, among Asian subgroups, the percentage ranged from 10 percent for Bhutanese adults to 74 percent for Asian Indian adults. (See figure 2 below.)

 



 

This report also presents information about Hispanic and Asian subgroups on topics including nativity, children’s living arrangements, children living in poverty, and high school status dropout rates.

Looking for more information about different racial/ethnic populations on topics spanning from early childcare and education arrangements to earnings and employment as an adult? Check out the full Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2018 report!

 

By Sidney Wilkinson-Flicker


[1] Learn more about the Public Use Microdata Sample of the American Community Survey.

[2] If the number of individuals in a subgroup is too small, the data may not be presented for privacy reasons. Additionally, a small sample size can mean that an apparent difference between two groups is not statistically significant.

A Slightly More Diverse Public School Teaching Workforce

There is research evidence that having a teacher of the same race/ethnicity can have positive impacts on a student’s attitudes, motivation, and achievement[1] and that minority teachers may have more positive expectations for minority students’ achievement than nonminority teachers.[2] New data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that the public school teaching workforce is becoming more diverse, but is still predominantly White.

The majority of public elementary and secondary school teachers were White in both 2003–04 and 2015–16. However, the percentage of teachers who were White was lower in 2015–16 than in 2003–04 (80 vs. 83 percent). While the percentage of teachers who were Black also fell slightly in that time, the percentages of teachers who were Hispanic, Asian, and of Two or more races were higher in 2015–16 than in 2003–04.

 


Figure 1. Percentage distribution of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity: School years 2003–04 and 2015–16



# Rounds to zero.
NOTE: Data are based on a head count of full-time and part-time teachers. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Although rounded numbers are shown, figures are based on unrounded estimates.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), “Public School Teacher Data File,” 2003–04; and National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), “Public School Teacher Data File,” 2015–16. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 209.10.


 

The racial/ethnic diversity of teachers differed somewhat by school characteristics. For example, schools with more racial/ethnic diversity in their student populations also tended to have more racial/ethnic diversity among teachers. In 2015–16, the percentage of minority[3] teachers was highest at schools that had 90 percent or more minority students (55 percent) and was lowest at schools with less than 10 percent minority students (2 percent). The opposite pattern was observed for White teachers, who accounted for 98 percent of teachers at schools with less than 10 percent minority students but made up only 45 percent of staff at schools with 90 percent or more minority students.

 


Figure 2. Percentage distribution of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by percentage of minority students in school and teacher minority status: School year 2015–16



NOTE: Excludes the 7 percent of teachers for whom the percentage of minority enrollment in the school was not available. Minority teachers include all racial/ethnic groups except for White. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), “Public School Teacher Data File,” 2015–16. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 209.23.


 

Are you interested in other differences in teacher characteristics by race/ethnicity? Then check out the spotlight feature in the Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2018 report.

 

By Lauren Musu

 

[1] Egalite, A.J., and Kisida, B. (2018). The Effects of Teacher Match on Students’ Academic Perceptions and Attitudes. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 40(1): 59–81; Egalite, A.J., Kisida, B., and Winters, M.A. (2015). Representation in the Classroom: The Effect of Own-Race Teachers on Student Achievement. Economics of Education Review, 45, 44–52.

[2] Gershenson, S., Holt, S.B., and Papageorge, N.W. (2016). Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student-Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations. Economics of Education Review, 52, 209–224.

[3] Minority teachers include all racial/ethnic groups except for White.