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Parsing Performance Among Asian-Heritage Students

Asian-American students, on most academic measures, come out on top—whether it's standardized test scores, graduation rates, college-going, or college-degree completion.

But educators and advocates know that the performance of Asian-American students is a far more complex story, albeit less acknowledged, or even ignored, in education and policy discussions about closing achievement gaps. The oft-cited data for Asians, of course, lumps a large and diverse group of students into a single category that looks uniformly successful.

But officials in the U.S. Department of Education are obviously thinking about this issue. They recently issued a call to the education field soliciting information about "practices and policies regarding existing education data systems that disaggregate data on Asian-American student subgroups."

In other words, the Ed. Dept. is looking to find out whether any schools, districts, state education agencies, and colleges or universities are taking a finer-grained look at Asian students in a way that reveals a far more diverse and nuanced achievement picture. They've extended the period for people and organizations to respond to this request until mid-August.

Advocacy groups in New York City earlier this year published a report that put a spotlight on the assumption that Asian-heritage kids are universally successful in school, leading countless numbers of these students who struggle to be overlooked.

It will be a while before we find out what the Ed. Dept. finds, so, in the meantime, what can all of you tell us about disaggregation practices for Asian-heritage kids? Who is leading the way on taking a nuanced look at these students?

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