Understanding the Education Trajectories of Young Black Men in New York City: Elementary and Middle School Years

A joint study for the Black Male Donor Collaborative (BMDC), published by the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at New York University (Metro Center) and the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being (CFRCFW) at Columbia University, tells the story of different educational paths taken by all Black males in the expected 2007 graduation cohort. The students included in the study attended New York City Schools since at least 4th grade.

Key findings from the BMDC Joint Trajectory Report:

  1. On average, Black males showed no growth in their test scores over time, and proficiency levels decreased over time.
  2. Patterns of low performance on the math exam in elementary and middle-school years continued into the first year of high school.
  3. Black male students who attended middle schools with fewer classmates who qualified for subsidized lunch and more schoolmates who earned higher math scores also completed more courses in the 9th grade. This finding suggests a school system stratified by academic performance exacerbates the persistence of low performance. Putting Black male students in more challenging learning environments may be the best way to increase math proficiency over time.

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