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The positive influence of a teacher of the same race on student achievement may help explain a small but nontrivial part of the racial test-score gap between black and white students, because black students in the sample are far less likely to be matched with an own-race teacher compared with white students. This pattern continues to this day because of the continuing shortage of minority teachers (Ingersoll 2015). Table 9 displays the data concerning the racial test-score gap in the Project STAR data, where the figures are in standard deviation units.24 The raw gap for math is slightly over half the size, as in Fryer and Levitt (2006) (where they find a gap of 0.663 standard deviations), and the raw gap in reading is minimally smaller (where it is 0.4 standard deviations). Including student and teacher covariates does not appreciably change the gap in math but decreases it considerably in reading—although these adjusted gaps are much larger than in Fryer and Levitt (2006).25 Augmenting the model further with an own-race teacher variable moderately narrows the racial gap for mathematics, and provides a drop of roughly half that reduction in reading. Overall, accounting for racial matches appears to explain a nontrivial portion of the gap in test scores between black and white students.

Table 9. 
Estimated Black—White Test Score Gap in Kindergarten
Raw GapAdjustedWith Same Race% of Gap Explained
Mathematics −0.37 −0.36 0.28 21.72 
Reading −0.36 −0.25 −0.21 13.55 
School fixed effects? no yes yes  
Raw GapAdjustedWith Same Race% of Gap Explained
Mathematics −0.37 −0.36 0.28 21.72 
Reading −0.36 −0.25 −0.21 13.55 
School fixed effects? no yes yes  

Notes: This table displays regression results where a normalized test score is the response variable, and the displayed coefficient is the black student dummy. Numbers are in standard deviations, save the final column. The adjusted column includes student and teacher covariates, and the column following adds a same-race teacher dummy.

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