UC Riverside

Robert Ream

Robert Ream

Bridging the Achievement Gap

Robert Ream, assistant professor of education, is tackling one of American educations' greatest wide-ranging challenges — the inequity in student achievement among racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups, commonly known as the "achievement gap."

Ream's expertise lies in examining the social and relational factors which disadvantages minority youth in K-12 education.

To me, Living the Promise means fulfilling the UC charge, as a public Land-Grant institution, of producing high-quality research for public benefit. The Promise also means—and this point merits emphasis in the current recessionary climate—that academic proficiency and not economic advantage should determine how far a student can go within the UC system.

Experts have a tendency to blame Mexican-Americans' poor school performance on language and/or cultural barriers.

According to Ream's research, that's not the full picture.

His recent work links research on student and residential mobility with the literature on social cohesion to show that underachievement among United States Latinos is partly due to high rates of mobility.

Mexican-Americans tend to be more mobile than other student groups, particularly during their high school years. This mobility tends to disrupt social networks and impinge on students' relationships with their peers and school personnel.

The instability of students' school-based relationships may help explain their low test scores.

All students experience some upheaval during K-12, but the vast majority of Mexican-origin students change schools for a host of reasons. The effect of those moves extends far beyond catching up to a new curriculum or repeating work already done.

Results also suggest that minority and non-minority students fortify social ties in different ways, and that these differences have implications for the educational utility of social capital.

Through his continued research, Ream hopes to discover a way to improve the schooling careers of Mexican-American students living in economically constrained communities.

Watch a video of Professor Robert Ream speaking on education.

See Ream's faculty profile page on the Graduate School of Education website.

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