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Christopher Jencks to speak about black-white test scores

Christopher Jencks, a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, will speak about "The Black-White Test Score Gap: Causes and Cures" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the Hartley Conference Center, room 130, of Mitchell Earth Sciences Building.

The talk is sponsored by the Research Institute of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Jencks will discuss the gap in reading and math scores between black and white school children that continues to be an important factor in perpetuating economic inequality. Although the gap has narrowed since 1970, progress stalled after 1990.

Jencks argues that schools probably could reduce the test-score gap by reducing class size, raising standards for hiring new teachers and changing teachers' assumptions about slow learners' academic potential.

A specialist in social consequences of inequality and cognitive growth in adolescence, Jencks is a visiting scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences this year. He previously taught at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Jencks holds graduate degrees from Harvard and the London School of Economics. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education and the National Academy of Sciences.

By Diane Manuel

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