Stagnant achievement gap not the only worrying trend

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ETS has released an update to its 2003 study looking at the nation's progress on the Achievement Gap and there's very little good news to report. On a host of 16 home and school factors that the study's researchers cite as contributing to the gap--including differences in how teachers are prepared and the turnover rate of teachers in their schools--there is little improvement.

There is one twist. The gap did narrow relative to one factor: there's now less of a difference between rich and poor schools in terms of the number of unqualified teachers assigned to teach math to 8th graders. However, the percentage of students who are taught math by teachers lacking a major or minor in math has actually gone up post-NCLB. There's a 40 percent chance that even middle-class middle school students will be assigned to an unqualified teacher, compared to 34 percent in 2003. So school districts appear to be spreading their qualified teachers around more equitably, but there are fewer of them.