Higher Education Gaps Report

A recent congressionally mandated report released by the National Center for Education Statistics documents the scope and nature of a number of differences between sex and racial/ethnic groups in education preparation and achievement, as well as differences in postsecondary access, persistence, and attainment between males and females within and across racial/ethnic.

The Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study, also called the Higher Ed: GAPS report, presents 46 indicators grouped under 7 main topics: demographic context; characteristics of schools; student behaviors and afterschool activities; academic preparation and achievement; college knowledge; postsecondary education; and postsecondary outcomes and employment.

The indicators include the most recently available, nationally representative data from NCES, other federal agencies, and selected items from the ACT and the College Board. The indicators provide a range of data that are relevant to a variety of policy issues surrounding gaps in postsecondary access and persistence. In addition, the report contains descriptive multivariate analyses of variables that are associated with male and female postsecondary attendance and attainment. The report draws on multiple sources that represent different years and different populations.

Among other findings, the report found that

* In 2010, the percentage of young adults whose highest level of educational attainment was a bachelor's or higher degree was lower for males than for females overall (27 vs. 35 percent) as well as for Whites (33 vs. 42 percent), Blacks (15 vs. 23 percent), Hispanics (11 vs. 16 percent), and persons of two or more races (30 vs. 35 percent).
* Among beginning postsecondary students who were recent high school graduates in 2004, after controlling for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other student, family, high school, and postsecondary institutional characteristics, the odds of attaining either an associate's or bachelor's degree by 2009 for males were 32 percent lower than the odds of degree attainment for females. Compared with White students, Black students had 43 percent lower odds and Hispanic students had 25 percent lower odds of attaining an associate's or bachelor's degree, after accounting for these factors.
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