One of the overriding goals of educational reformists is to erase “the gap”. It refers to the difference in academic achievement (among other things) between whites and blacks. Despite decades of effort, the gap stubbornly refuses to disappear. Intensely focused (and very expensive) effort can temporarily erase the gap, but the effect on academic achievement disappears after 3 years of the end of those efforts.
What educational researchers are recognizing however is that there isn’t just one gap anymore. The traditional gap remains of course, but the gap they are beginning to take notice of is the gap between Asians and every other group at advanced levels. Most of these educational studies only concern themselves with the low end of the spectrum. Policy makers are traditionally concerned with bringing those in dire academic straits out into proficient territory. But a new report by the Center on Educational Policy actually takes advanced levels into account. What they find is that in general, every group is trending in a positive direction in both reading and math. But Asians in areas like Maryland and Virginia are out-trending other groups at the advanced level.