Asian Achievement on the PSAT
We spend a lot of time concentrating on how to improve the achievement of African Americans and Hispanic students, but when I pore over data sometimes I wonder: Why aren't we analysing the achievement gap between Asians and whites? We have worked to close the achievement gap because of the educational inequities that have existed for years in African American communities, but we might also look at what makes Asian families so committed to high achievement. The fact is that Asians have higher pass rates on most of the state and national tests that I have taken a look at in the last several years.
One more piece of evidence on this subject crossed my desk today, in the form of the list of Maryland's National Merit Semifinalists. Nationally, 1.5 million juniors took the PSAT last year. Out of that group, the National Merit Scholarship Program selected the top 16,000 semifinalists who will then go on to compete to become National Merit Finalists. The finalists receive college scholarships.
So to be part of this crowd, you have to be pretty academically gifted. Congratulations to all those students who are on the list.
As I went down the list of students, I noticed the number of Asian surnames among the semifinalists as well as the large number who come from Montgomery Blair High School. In that high school alone, it appeared that about half of the names were Asian.
The percentage of Asians on the list seemed to be higher than the percentage of Asians in the general population in Maryland. I wonder what educators have observed in their schools and classrooms?