Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. Scott Gaynor

Second Advisor

Dr. Delores Walcott

Third Advisor

Dr. Helen Pratt


On standardized tests that measure cognitive abilities and academic achievement, there is general agreement that the gap between Black and White Americans is about 1 standard deviation (or about 15 points on tests where the average score is 100). The theoretical and empirical literature examining possible genetic or environmental explanations for this discrepancy was analyzed. The primary conclusion from this analysis was that differences on standardized test scores between Black and White students could be significantly impacted by subtle and not so subtle environmental variables. To support this claim, research suggesting that Black and White students who share similar economic, educational, test-taking, and familial conditions show little to no differences in their performances compared to those who differ in those areas was described.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only