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Report: Minority Students Lagging

October 18, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Black and Hispanic students lag behind white and Asian students academically _ even when they come from similarly privileged backgrounds, according to a new report.

To bridge the gap, the report issued Sunday by the College Board recommends tutoring, mentoring and other support to minority students in all grades and from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

The New York-based College Board administers the SATs.

``We are not just talking about disadvantaged youngsters,″ said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. ``Even minority students from relatively wealthy families with well-educated parents do not typically perform as well as white and Asian students from similar backgrounds.″

Surveying data going back to the 1960s, the report found that academic underachievement among black and Hispanic students begins in the earliest grades and persists all the way into higher education.

Even among students whose parents had PhDs and high incomes, some black and Hispanic students tended to get lower test scores and grades than white and Asian students. The wealthier minority students’ ``patterns of academic achievement tend to resemble those of less affluent whites and Asian Americans,″ the report said.

The report found some signs of progress. For example, the gap in average math scores for 17-year-old minorities versus white students decreased by 30 percent between the early 1970s and the mid-1990s. And 87 percent of all black students graduate from high school or pass equivalency tests _ about the same rate as white students.

In seeking answers about why some minorities might not perform as well academically as their white and Asian peers, the report noted that some experts cited racism, and peer pressure that disparages intellectual achievement.

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