The Geography of Rural Educational Opportunity


Jessica Drescher


Anne Podolsky


Sean F. Reardon


Gabrielle Torrance

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We use nearly 430 million standardized test scores, including test scores from more than 6,500 rural school districts, to describe educational opportunity in rural America. Although we find modest differences in outcomes between rural and nonrural students overall, these disparities are larger for specific socioeconomic, racial-ethnic, and geographic groups. We also find that the relationship between socioeconomic status and achievement is somewhat weaker in rural areas compared to nonrural areas. Variation in third-grade achievement and learning rates is considerable among rural districts, indicating that rates of early and middle childhood educational opportunity are not evenly distributed throughout rural America.

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APA Citation

Drescher, J., Podolsky, A., Reardon, S.F., & Torrance, G. (2022). The Geography of Rural Educational Opportunity.

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