1 University of Houston - Clear Lake (UNITED STATES)
2 National Education Association (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 4403-4407
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
While education has made great strides in closing the achievement gap among White and minority students, there is still need to address the issues related to and created by this persistent problem within education. “Achievement gap refers to the observed disparity on a number of educational measures between the performances of groups of students, especially groups defined by gender, race/ethnicity, ability, and socioeconomic status” (PediaView, n.d., p. 1). According to research by McKinsey & Company (2009), the achievement gap also has four distinct dimensions. These four dimensions include: (1)”between the United States and other nations; (2) between black and Latino students and white students; (3) between students of different income levels; and (4) between similar students schooled in different systems or regions” (McKinsey & Company, 2009, p. 5). In addition, these dimensions are not given the attention that they warrant in addressing the achievement gap (McKinsey & Company, 2009). While it may be concluded that the achievement gap is far-reaching, this issue has a notable impact on gender education and social class.

Attention has been given to this seemingly enormous educational problem; however, there are other aspects of the achievement gap that have a significant impact on female educational experiences. According to PediaView (n.d.), “…males and females in the United States demonstrate a gap in achievement, which can be seen at all ages” (p. 10). The achievement gap often impacts female participation in science and mathematics. One reason may be that girls are socialized to pursue schooling or career paths that are not math and science related. To begin to combat this issue, socializing practices at home, teacher attitudes, beliefs and expectations must be addressed (Taylor & Whittaker, 2009) at an early age.

The achievement gap has a major influence on gender education as well as on social class. According to PediaView (n.d.), “…students of color and low-income students are more likely to find themselves at a distinct disadvantage in school comparison to white students” (p. 3). Rothstein also lends support to this idea (as cited in Schultz, 2006) in a statement that social class characteristics also influence the achievement gap. Thus, this paper seeks to further illuminate the issue of the achievement gap and why it still persists in American education. While there have been great strides made in decreasing the gap among African American students and their White counterparts, a gulf still exists among gender and social class lines. This paper will further explore the impact of the achievement gap on these two factors.

McKinsey & Company. (2009, April). The economic impact of the achievement gap in America’s schools.
Report from the Social Sector Office. Retrieved from

PediaView. (n.d.). Achievement gap. Retrieved from

Schultz, F. (2006). Annual editions: Multicultural education 06/07. Dubuque, IA. : McGraw-Hill.

Taylor, L., & Whittaker, C. (2009). Bridging multiple worlds: Case studies of diverse educational communities. Boston: Pearson.
Achievement gap, gender education, social class and education.