Falling Out of the Lead: Following High Achievers Through High School and Beyond

Marni Bromberg & Christi Theokas (PDF):

Nationally, there are 61,250 students of color and 60,300 students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds who perform among the top 25 percent of all students in reading and math at the beginning of high school.

Many high-achieving students of color and students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, however, leave high school with lower AP exam rates, lower SAT/ACT scores, and lower GPAs than their high-achieving white and more advantaged peers — a reality that influences their choices beyond high school.

Schools can take action to better serve these students. Interviews with the principal of one successful school and with high-achieving students from around the country provide insight on what practitioners can do.

Related: “They’re all rich, white kids and they’ll do just fine” — NOT!

Two of the most popular — and most insidious — myths about academically gifted kids is that “they’re all rich, white kids” and that, no matter what they experience in school, “they’ll do just fine.” Even in our own district, however, the hard data do not support those assertions.

When the District analyzed dropout data for the five-year period between 1995 and 1999, they identified four student profiles. Of interest for the present purpose is the group identified as high achieving. Here are the data from the MMSD Research and Evaluation Report from May, 2000: