Meredith Phillips

Meredith Phillips is assistant professor of policy studies at the School of Public Policy & Social Research at the University of California at Los Angeles. She is co-author of The Black-White Test Score Gap.

Recent Articles

America's Next Achievement Test

Despite significant improvement in recent decades, blacks still score consistently lower than whites on tests of academic performance. But recent studies show that the gap is not genetic in origin and suggest how it can be closed.

African Americans currently score lower than European Americans on vocabulary, reading, and math tests, as well as on tests that claim to measure scholastic aptitude and intelligence. This gap appears before children enter kindergarten, and it persists into adulthood. It has narrowed since 1970, but the median American black still scores below 75 percent of American whites on most standardized tests. On some tests the typical American black scores below more than 85 percent of whites. The black-white test score gap does not appear to be an inevitable fact of nature. It is true that the gap shrinks only a little when black and white children attend the same schools. It is also true that the gap shrinks only a little when black and white families have the same amount of schooling, the same income, and the same wealth. But despite endless speculation, no one has found genetic evidence indicating that blacks have less innate intellectual ability than whites. Thus while it is clear that...