White and Asian students continue to do better on tests than black and Latino students, says the U.S. Department of Education.

    This information, which comes from the government's 2015 Nation's Report Card, shows a long-lasting education gap between racial groups in the United States.

    Here are two examples from the 2015 Nation's Report Card:

    In 2015, white students scored 32 points higher than black students on mathematics tests, on average.

    In 2015, white students scored 26 points higher than black students on reading tests, on average.

    Both examples show the scores of Grade 8 students. Grade 8 is the year before students begin high school in the US.

    Why do White and Asian students do better on tests?

    Marcelo Suarez-Orozco is an education professor at the University of California-Los Angeles. She says that Latino and black students face challenges that prevent them from excelling.
    马塞洛·苏亚雷斯·奥罗斯科(Marcelo Suarez-Orozco)是加州大学洛杉矶分校的一位教育学教授。她说,拉丁裔和黑人学生面临着各种阻止他们表现出色的挑战。

    "Both Latino children and African American children are once again attending schools that are highly segregated. They are highly segregated by race, by poverty, by language by legal status," said Suarez-Orozco.

    One reason is classroom attendance in primary and secondary school. As students miss more classes, they become less likely to score well on tests and graduate from high school.

    In general, students from low-income families in the U.S. are more likely to miss class because of health problems, such as asthma and tooth decay. Transportation problems and difficult home environments are other factors.

    Black and Hispanic students in many regions are more likely to miss classes than white students, says a report from Attendance Works, a non-profit organization.
    根据非盈利性组织出勤研究室(Attendance Works)的一份报告,很多地区的黑人和西班牙裔学生比白人学生更可能缺课。

    The Achievement Gap

    Poverty, language, legal status and race are all factors that contribute to an achievement gap that continues into college, says Ken O'Donnell, California State University's Senior Director of Student Engagement.
    加州州立大学学生参与度部门高级总监肯·奥唐奈(Ken O'Donnell)表示,贫穷、语言、法律地位和种族都是一直持续到大学并造成成绩差距的因素。

    If a student is the first person in their family to go to college, they face many difficulties. They do not have the same support that other students might have, says O'Donnell.

    The achievement gap, explains O'Donnell, can have serious effects.

    Students who are not prepared for college are more likely to leave school. Or they might take longer to graduate. This means that they will receive the benefits of a college degree late – or perhaps never.

    International perspectives on the achievement gap

    The achievement gap is not only a problem in the U.S. In many countries, some groups do not perform as well as others. Finland is considered by many to have the best education system in the world. But it, too, has problems with the achievement gap.

    The Economic Policy Institute released a report in 2013. It found that in Finland, low-income students score higher than low-income students in the U.S. on the PISA test.

    However, from 2000 to 2009, low-income Finnish students' scores went down. During the same period, low-income US students' scores went up. In other words, Finland is starting to have problems educating low-income students.

    How to Fix the Problem?

    For now, some schools are better than others at preparing students for college. At Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy, teachers talk about college as soon as students start high school.

    Teachers try to build the confidence of students. And they try to help students on an individual basis, says Principal Jan Murata.
    教师们试图建立学生们的信心。该校校长简·穆拉塔(Jan Murata)表示,他们试图根据个人根基帮助学生们。

    "Unless you reach that child and show that you care and get the students there and believe in them, then it makes it really difficult," said Murata.

    Another way to help students is to help their parents. Mark Gaither, a principal at a primary school in Baltimore, allows parents to come to the school's library every Monday. There, parents can learn how to help students with homework, check out books and get comfortable in the school environment.
    另一种帮助学生们的办法是帮助他们的父母。巴尔的摩一所小学的校长马克·盖瑟(Mark Gaither)每周一让家长们来到学校的图书馆。家长们在这里可以学习到如何帮助学生们完成家庭作业,借出书籍并适应学校环境。

    For many of today's teachers, UCLA's Suarez-Orozco says reaching students means understanding the cultural, language and economic difficulties they face.

    "So knowing your students, knowing where they are coming from, knowing their communities, [are important]" he said.

    In October, the Obama Administration began a program to combat the problem of students missing school. The effort is called "Every Student, Every Day." Its goal is to identify and help students who miss around 18 days, or 10 percent, of school days in a school year.
    十月份,奥巴马政府开启了一项减轻学生旷课问题的项目。该措施被称之为“每名学生,每一天”(Every Student, Every Day)。其目标是发现和帮助每学年缺课18天或10%学时的学生。

    Through the "Every Student, Every Day" program, the departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Justice, among others, will work with local and state governments to stop students from missing too much school.

    Only time will tell how successful this program will be.