Sociology of Education

Published by American Sociological Association
Online ISSN: 0038-0407
Publications
Article
Promoting marriage, especially among low-income single mothers with children, is increasingly viewed as a promising public policy strategy for improving developmental outcomes for disadvantaged children. Previous research suggests, however, that children's academic achievement either does not improve or declines when single mothers marry. In this paper, we argue that previous research may understate the benefits of mothers' marriages to children from single-parent families because (1) the short-term and long-term developmental consequences of marriage are not adequately distinguished and (2) child and family contexts in which marriage is likely to confer developmental advantages are not differentiated from those that do not. Using multiple waves of data from the ECLS-K, we find that single mothers' marriages are associated with modest but statistically significant improvements in their children's academic achievement trajectories. However, only children from more advantaged single-parent families benefit from their mothers' marriage.
 
Article
High school students today have high ambitions but do not always make choices that maximize their likelihood of educational success. This is the motivation for investigating relationships between high school sexual behavior and two important academic attainment milestones: earning a high school diploma and enrollment in distinct postsecondary programs. Analysis of data from 7,915 National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988-1994 participants indicates that timing of sexual initiation, contraceptive nonuse, and parenthood all predict female and male students' academic attainment. Furthermore, sexual behavior has more ramifications as attainment milestones become more competitive. These findings point to the importance of considering how students' choices across multiple life domains influence academic attainment, an important predictor of adult socioeconomic opportunity.
 
Descriptive Statistics by Race/Ethnicity 
Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Likelihood of Taking a Commercial SAT Test Preparation Course: Logistic Regression Results 
Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Likelihood of Receiving Private SAT One-to-one Tutoring: Logistic Regression Results 
Racial/Ethnic Variation in the Relationship between the Two Forms of SAT Coaching and SAT Scores: Ordinary Least Squares Results 
Article
Using data from the Education Longitudinal Study, this study assessed the relevance of shadow education to the high academic performance of East Asian American students by examining how East Asian American students differed from other racial/ethnic students in the prevalence, purpose, and effects of using the two forms - commercial test preparation service and private one-to-one tutoring - of SAT coaching, defined as the American style of shadow education. East Asian American students were most likely to take a commercial SAT test preparation course for the enrichment purpose, and benefited most from taking this particular form of SAT coaching. However, this was not the case for private SAT one-to-one tutoring. While black students were most likely to utilize private tutoring for the remedial purpose, the impact of private tutoring was trivial for all racial/ethnic groups including East Asian American students. The authors discussed broader implications of the findings on racial/ethnic inequalities in educational achievement beyond the relevance of shadow education for the academic success of East Asian American students.
 
Article
Educational outcomes vary dramatically across schools in the United States. Many under-performing schools, especially in Chicago, also deal with high levels of violent crime on school grounds. Exposure to this type of frequent violence may be an important factor shaping already disadvantaged students' educational experiences. However, estimating the effect of school violence on learning is difficult due to potential selection bias and the confounding of other school-level problems. Using detailed crime data from the Chicago Police Department, complete administrative records from the Chicago Public Schools, and school climate surveys conducted by the Consortium on Chicago School Research (2002-10), this study exploits variation in violent crime rates within schools over time to estimate its effect on academic achievement. School and neighborhood fixed-effects models show that violent crime rates have a negative effect on test scores, but not on grades. This effect is more likely related to direct reductions in learning, through cognitive stress and classroom disruptions, than changes in perceived safety, general school climate, or discipline practices.
 
Article
The linkage between family structure and adolescents' academic experiences is part of a larger, dynamic process unfolding over time. To investigate this phenomenon, this study drew on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement Study. Logistic regressions revealed that family structure at birth predicted students' academic status in math in the ninth grade, and multinomial regressions revealed that family instability, along with curricular location in the ninth grade, parenting behaviors, and adolescents' adjustment and aspirations, distinguished those who completed higher-level math by the end of high school from those who did not but still graduated from high school and from those who dropped out of high school.
 
Article
Academic failure and drinking are both problematic aspects of the adolescent stage of the life course, and the connection between these two behaviors can disrupt the basic functioning of individuals and schools. Drawing on theories of problem behavior from multiple disciplines, this study attempted to determine whether academic failure was a risk factor for adolescent drinking, and vice versa, and then to identify the mechanisms underlying these two longitudinal associations. Cross-lagged models of data from 11,927 middle school and high school students in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health revealed that the number of classes failed in one year predicted alcohol use a year later more than early alcohol use predicted later class failures. Aspects of social bonding (e.g., attachments to adults) and symptoms of general maladjustment (e.g., delinquency) did more than opportunity structures (e.g., peer norms) to explain the connection between these two behaviors over one year of secondary school.
 
Unstandardized Coefficients from Within-Individual Regressions of Academic Performance, Educational Expectations, School Behaviors, and School Activities on Teenage Work Hours and Preferences (Monitoring the Future longitudinal data) 
Article
Teenagers working over 20 hours per week perform worse in school than youth who work less. There are two competing explanations for this association: (1) that paid work takes time and effort away from activities that promote achievement, such as completing homework, preparing for examinations, getting help from parents and teachers, and participating in extracurricular activities; and (2) that the relationship between paid work and school performance is spurious, reflecting preexisting differences between students in academic ability, motivation, and school commitment. Using longitudinal data from the ongoing national Monitoring the Future project, this research examines the impact of teenage employment on school performance and academic engagement during the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades. We address issues of spuriousness by using a two-level hierarchical model to estimate the relationships of within-individual changes in paid work to changes in school performance and other school-related measures. Unlike prior research, we also compare youth school performance and academic orientation when they are actually working in high-intensity jobs to when they are jobless and wish to work intensively. Results indicate that the mere wish for intensive work corresponds with academic difficulties in a manner similar to actual intensive work.
 
Predicted Probability of Advanced Course Taking for an " Average " Female Student According to the Characteristics of Her Friendship Group  
Article
This article examines the role of friends in girls' and boys' advanced course taking and explores whether friends' characteristics are particularly important for girls' math and science attainment. With the use of data from Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Heath, the results indicate that same-sex friends' academic performance significantly predicts course taking in all subjects for girls, but not for boys. Furthermore, for math and science only, the effects of friends' performance are greater in the context of a predominantly female friendship group, which suggests that such groups provide a counterpoint to the gendered stereotypes and identities of those subjects.
 
Article
Persistent school segregation does not only mean that children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds attend different schools, but their schools are also unequal in their performance. This study documents nationally the extent of disparities in school performance between schools attended by whites and Asians compared to blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans. It further examines the geography of school inequality in two ways. First it analyzes the segregation of students between different types of school profiles based on racial composition, poverty and metropolitan location. Second it estimates the independent effects of these and other school and school district characteristics on school performance, identifying which aspects of school segregation are the most important sources of disadvantage. A focus on schools at the bottom of the distribution as in No Schools Left Behind would not ameliorate wide disparities between groups that are found run across the whole spectrum of school performance.
 
PISA Index of Students’ Highbrow Cutural Acitivites for Korea, Japan, France, and the United States 
Weighted Descriptive Statistics for Variables Included in Analyses
Varying Relationships between Family Socioeconomic Status and Parental Objectified Cultural Capital across Four Countries
Varying Relationships between Family Socioeconomic Status and Children's Embodied Cultural Capital across Four Countries
Varying Relationships between Cultural Capital and Academic Achievement across Four Countries
Article
The concept of cultural capital has proved invaluable in understanding educational systems in Western countries, and recent work seeks to extend those insights to the diverse educational systems of other geographic regions. We explored cultural capital in South Korea by investigating the relationships among family socioeconomic status (SES), cultural capital, and children's academic achievement using data from the 2000 Programme for International Student Assessment. South Korea was compared with Japan, France, and the United States to understand how institutional features of South Korean education shape the role of cultural capital in academic success. Results showed that family SES had a positive effect on both parental objectified cultural capital and children's embodied cultural capital in South Korea, consistent with evidence from the other countries. Moreover, parental objectified cultural capital had a positive effect on children's academic achievement in South Korea. In contrast to other countries, however, children's embodied cultural capital had a negative effect on academic achievement in South Korea controlling for the other variables. We highlighted several institutional features of South Korean education including a standardized curriculum, extreme focus on test preparation, and extensive shadow education, which may combine to suppress the effect of children's embodied cultural capital on academic achievement.
 
Article
Originally developed by Zajonc and Markus (1975), the confluence model attempts to explain the intellectual growth of children as a function of the family structures in which children are reared. Using data extracted from Cycle II of the National Health Examination Survey, we analyze the effects of two of the most frequently investigated indicators of family structure; the number of siblings and birth-order on the Wechsler vocabulary and the Wechsler block design (IQ sub-tests) performance of 6 to 11-year-old children. The effects of these family structure variables on IQ performance are estimated for black and white children. Four major conclusions are drawn. First, birth-order is unrelated to the verbal and nonverbal IQ performance of either black or white children. Second, family size is inversely related to the verbal IQ performance of black and white children but not to the nonverbal performance of either group. Third, the inverse impact of family size on verbal ability does not differ significantly by race. Finally, the only child exception to the family size/IQ linear decline frequently reported in other studies is not supported in this study for the IQ performance of black children and it is barely supported for the IQ performance of white children appearing only and slightly on the vocabulary sub-test.
 
Article
Stereotype threat is a widely supported theory for understanding the racial achievement gap in college grade performance. However, today's minority college students are increasingly of immigrant origins, and it is unclear whether two dispositional mechanisms that may increase susceptibility to stereotype threat are applicable to immigrants. We use survey data to examine whether and how negative ability stereotypes affect the grades of 1,865 first, second, and third generation or higher (domestic) minority students at 28 selective American colleges. Structural equation model results indicate that first generation immigrants are highly-resistant to both dispositional identity threat mechanisms we consider. Second generation immigrants experience only certain dispositional elements of identity threat. Drawing on research in social psychology, we suggest immigrants tend to resist stereotype threat in part due to the primacy of their immigrant identities and their connectedness to the opportunity structure of mainstream society.
 
Article
The vast majority of American middle schools and high schools sell what is known as "competitive foods", such as soft drinks, candy bars, and chips, to children. The relationship between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and snacks and childhood obesity is well established but it remains unknown whether competitive food sales in schools are related to unhealthy weight gain among children. We examined this association using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort. Employing fixed effects models and a natural experimental approach, we found that children's weight gain between 5(th) and 8(th) grades was not associated with the introduction or the duration of exposure to competitive food sales in middle school. Also, the relationship between competitive foods and weight gain did not vary significantly by gender, race/ethnicity, or family SES, and remained weak and insignificant across several alternative model specifications. One possible explanation is that children's food preferences and dietary patterns are firmly established before adolescence. Also, middle school environments may dampen the effects of competitive food sales because they so highly structure children's time and eating opportunities.
 
Article
This paper uses administrative data from the University of Texas-Austin to examine whether the number of same high school classmates at college entry influences college achievement, measured by grade point average (GPA) and persistence. For each freshman cohort from 1993 through 2003 we calculate the number and ethnic makeup of college freshmen from each Texas high school. Empirical specifications include high school fixed effects to control for unobservable differences across schools that influence both college enrollment behavior and academic performance. Using an instrumental variables/fixed effects estimation strategy, we also evaluate whether "marginal" increases in the number of high school classmates influence college grades. Results show that students who arrive on campus with a larger number of high school classmates outperform their counterparts from smaller high school cohorts. Average effects of larger high school cohorts on college achievement are small, but a marginal increase in the number of same-race classmates raises GPA by 0.1 point. Results provide suggestive evidence that minority academic benefits from larger high school cohorts are greater for minority compared with white students.
 
a. Interaction between Having a Relative as Mentor and Youth Resources on Highest Degree Achieved: Probability of Attending College Note: The category axis represents the 20 th , 40 th , 60 th , and 80 th percentiles  
b.  
Article
Few studies have examined the impact that mentoring (i.e., developing a special relationship with a non-parental adult) has on educational achievement and attainment in the general population. In addition, prior research has yet to clarify the extent to which mentoring relationships reduce inequality by enabling disadvantaged youth to compensate for a lack of social resources or promote inequality by serving as a complementary resource for advantaged youth. Results from a nationally representative sample of youth show (1) a powerful net influence of mentors on the educational success of youth and (2) how social background, parental, peer, and personal resources condition the formation and effectiveness of mentoring relationships. The findings uncover an interesting paradox-that informal mentors may simultaneously represent compensatory and complementary resources. Youth with many resources are more likely than other young people to have mentors, but those with few resources are likely to benefit more from having a mentor-particularly teacher mentors-in their lives.
 
Article
The literature on neighborhood effects on schooling theorizes that neighborhood cultural context is an important mechanism generating such effects. However, explanations that rely on subcultural theories, such as oppositional culture, have met with considerable criticism on empirical grounds, and no alternative account of the cultural context of disadvantaged neighborhoods has been developed in the education literature. This study develops a new account of the cultural context of schooling decisions in disadvantaged neighborhoods based on the concept of cultural heterogeneity, defined as the presence of a wide array of competing and conflicting cultural models. It applies this concept to neighborhood effects on college enrollment. Using survey data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study shows that disadvantaged neighborhoods exhibit greater heterogeneity in college goals and that adolescents in more heterogeneous neighborhoods are less likely to act in concert with the college goals that they articulate.
 
Article
Trends in family formation during the past several decades have increased children's exposure to mothers' partnership instability, defined as an entrance into or exit from a coresidential union or a dating partnership. Instability, in turn, is associated with negative outcomes for children and adolescents. This study uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine associations between mothers' partnership instability and children's school readiness, differences between coresidential and dating transitions, and the moderating role of child gender. Mothers' partnership transitions are negatively associated with children's verbal ability and positively associated with boys' behavioral problems at age five. In general, coresidential and dating transitions have similar effects on school readiness. The findings have important implications for our understanding of the growing gender gap in educational attainment.
 
Article
Using data from the 2000 Public Use Sample of the U.S. Census, this research examines how estimates of school enrollment and school-work patterns among Mexican-origin adolescents are affected by including or excluding young immigrants who never enrolled in U.S. schools. The analysis demonstrates that a non-trivial share of adolescents who were born in Mexico almost certainly never enrolled in U.S. schools; these youth most likely migrated to the United States for work. Excluding these adolescents from analyses substantially reduces gaps in school enrollment between Mexicans and Whites and between native and foreign-born Mexicans. Excluding never-enrolled immigrant youth also changes the relationship between duration of U.S. residence and idleness among Mexican immigrant youth, revealing that additional years of residence in the United States increase the likelihood of being out of school and not working compared to in school and not working. Overall, inferences about the level of school enrollment and intra-ethnic differences in school enrollment by duration of residence depend on how those who are likely to have never enrolled in U.S. schools are treated. Inferences about interethnic differences also are affected, although they are somewhat less sensitive to this issue.
 
Article
PIP The analysis of the association between educational status and fertility decline is performed 1) by examining the rates of enrollment in primary and secondary schools by gender and 2) by assessing the effects of the change/spread in rates of enrollment between 1965 and 1986. 59 countries were involved in the cross-sectional analysis. Variables included the logged crude birth rate, total enrollment rates, enrollment rates by gender, male-female ratios, the growth rate for each educational measure by world system status (core, peripheral, and semiperipheral countries), control variables (economic growth, family planning, multinational corporate penetration, women's labor force participation, child mortality rate, social insurance programs), and enrollment changes. The evidence reflects a strong association between levels of enrollment of girls in primary and secondary school and gender inequality and fertility declines. Caldwell's theory of the flows of wealth and the spread of education effect was found to have little support. High levels of female enrollment and low levels of gender inequality in access to schooling are associated with fertility declines. Caldwell's theory is that this indicates a decline in patriarchy, change in women's familial roles and a shift to a more egalitarian family structure. Increases in female education mean higher status and more power for women.
 
Article
This article uses data drawn from nine months of fieldwork and student, teacher, and administrator interviews at a southern high school to analyze school racial conflict and the construction of racism. We find that institutional inequalities that stratify students by race and class are routinely ignored by school actors who, we argue, use the presence of so-called redneck students to plausibly deny racism while furthering the standard definition of racism as blatant prejudice and an individual trait. The historical prominence of rednecks as a southern cultural identity augments these claims, leading to an implicit division of school actors into friendly/nonracist and unfriendly/racist and allowing school actors to set boundaries on the meaning of racism. Yet these rhetorical practices and the institutional structures they mask contributed to racial tensions, culminating in a race riot during our time at the school.
 
Attributes of Colleges by Typea 
provides data on mean incomes of former students according to 
Mean Incomes of Individuals According to Carnegie Type of School Attended and Years Completed 
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Article
The effects of particular attributes of colleges on the subsequent earnings of individuals who attend are much discussed but rarely studied systematically. Here we seek to compare the earnings patterns of people attending different types of colleges. The classification of colleges used in this study is the scheme developed by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education based on the sense of commitments to research, types of programs offered and selectivity of admission of students. We find that at the college level, differences in type of institution attended have highly significant effects on differences in lifetime earning patterns of students.
 
Article
We examine patterns of language adaption in a sample of over 5,000 second generation students in South Florida and Southern California. Knowledge of English is near universal and preference for that language is dominant among most immigrant nationalities. On the other hand, only a minority remain fluent in the parental languages and there are wide variations among immigrant groups in the extent of their parental linguistic retention. These variations are important for theory and policy because they affect the speed of acculturation and the extent to which sizable pools of fluent bilinguals will be created by today's second generation. We employ multivariate and multi-level analyses to identify the principal factors accounting for variation in foreign language maintenance and bilingualism. While a number of variables emerge as significant predictors, they do not account for differences across immigrant nationalities which become even more sharply delineated. A clear disjunture exists between children of Asian and Hispanic backgrounds whose parental language maintenance and bilingual fluency vary significantly. Reasons for this divergence are explored and their policy implications are discussed.
 
Article
Discusses the selection and descriptive statistics of the test battery administered to high school sophomores and seniors as part of the 1981 study by J. Coleman et al (see record 1982-33726-001) on private and public school differences. The cross-sectional, private–public school differences that indicate private school superiority in reading, vocabulary, and math persist, however, irrespective of the length of the test or the specific subject matter analyzed. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This research documents long-run trends in between-country education inequality and proposes a method for doing so that accounts for the ways in which most education variables differ from continuous variables such as income. Historical, national-level estimates of primary schooling enrollment rates and years of completed primary, secondary, and total schooling are used to identify several problems that arise when formal measures of inequality are used to estimate intercountry education convergence, including violation of the welfare, scale invariance, and anonymity principles. An alternate measurement strategy shows that the intercountry trend in the dispersion of education has followed an approximately normal curve over the past 140 years, but with considerable variation across measures of education. These results are in contradiction to previous education inequality studies, which have reported either monotonically rising or falling intercountry inequality.
 
Article
Are our schools successful in achieving their objectives, or could they be more efficient? To answer such questions it is necessary to measure the productivity of education, which involves defining and measuring the output and inputs of schools in such a way that changes in the standards and quality of instruction are taken into account. This paper explores the problems of measuring educational productivity by way of an analysis of trends in the productivity of British secondary education. We discuss a number of different ways of measuring output, and construct productivity indices for British secondary education since 1950, based on three different measures of output. Our major finding is that whatever definition of quality is used, it takes more resources today to produce a secondary school-leaver of given quality than it did in 1950.
 
New prisons and community colleges in rural U.S. counties in two periods (1960-1980 and 1980-2000) Source: American Association of Community Colleges (2005); U.S. Department of Justice (2005). 
Descriptive Statistics (means and standard deviations) for Variables Included in Estimations (observed and natural log), 2,017 Rural U.S. Counties 
Revenue sources for rural-serving community colleges in 44 States, 1981-2001 (median percentage of total for selected revenue sources) Source: Roessler (2006), Appendix C through Appendix UU. 
Determinants of Employment Growth in 2,017 Rural Counties, with Slope Dummy Interaction Terms, 1990-2004 (two-stage least squares regression with robust standard errors) 
(continued) 
Article
In the decades following World War II, a significant expansion of community colleges occurred throughout the United States. As the baby boom generation came of age, demand for higher education spiked, and policy makers allocated the requisite funding to expand institutions of higher education. This expansion, including vigorous funding from federal, state, and local units of government, was politically popular. This openhanded support ended in the latter decades of the twentieth century as hostility to paying taxes and to public spending mounted. In recent decades, community colleges have competed with other social expenditures, such as prisons and health care demands, for scarce public resources. And, in a number of states, community colleges have fared poorly in this competition. Using multivariate analyses and data gathered from several sources, including the American Association of Community Colleges, the authors examine the impacts of community colleges on local employment trends. Their research focuses on rural counties over four time periods between 1976 and 2004. This focus is important, as rural areas have faced severe and chronic economic decline over the study period. Their research (specifically for the 1976-1983 and 1991-1997 panels) provides evidence that established community colleges made a significant contribution to employment growth. However, for the most recent panel (i.e., 1998-2004), the coefficient for community colleges is negative. An examination of the interaction between community colleges and states’ fiscal contexts provides evidence that this decline may be the result of states cutting back their funding levels for community colleges.
 
Article
Incl. bibl., abstract. International nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) are at the core of an evolving and increasingly coherent world culture that promotes universally recognized norms of development and education in the Third World. INGOs work directly with local communities to build new schools, provide educational materials, encourage enrollments. INGOs also propagate world educational standards and goals. This article presents the first quantitative, cross-national analysis of the effects of INGOS on Third World education. The consistent positive relationship found between INGOs and secondary enrollments, teacher-student ratios, persistence to Grade 5, and female-tomale enrollment ratios lend support to world institutional theories that education is heavily influenced by international cultural and social factors, net measures related to Third World dependency and state strength.
 
Article
Academic achievement in adolescence is a key determinant of future educational and occupational success. Friends play an important role in the educational process. They provide support and resources and can both encourage and discourage academic achievement. As a result, the friends adolescents make may help to maintain and exacerbate inequality if friends are sorted on the basis of academic achievement. These observations prompt the question: How does academic achievement affect the friendship ties made? Using data from the high schools in the Add Health saturated sample, the author models network change using a stochastic actor-based Markov model for the co-evolution of networks and behavior. This model is carried out at the school level for each of the high schools included in the saturated sample. Results show that in the most typical American schools, similarity in academic achievement is an important and consistent predictor of friendship ties in a dynamic context. High-achieving students are more likely to extend ties to other high-achieving students, net of other sociodemographic, network, and proximity characteristics, while low-achieving students are more likely to extend ties to other low-achieving students. Adolescents respond to changes in academic achievement by changing their friendship ties.
 
Logistic Regression Estimates Predicting That a Student Completed at Least Algebra I by the End of Ninth Grade (N = 6,545) Completion of Algebra I at ninth grade
Logistic Regression Estimates Predicting That a Student Completed at Least Algebra II by the End of High School (N = 6,545)
Article
An emerging literature suggests that the increasingly complex family histories of American children are linked with multiple domains of adolescent development. Much of this scholarship focuses on associations at the individual level. Here, the authors consider whether key dimensions of the school context, specifically the aggregate level of family instability and the academic press within schools, moderate the link between family instability and young people’s course-taking patterns in mathematics in high school. Using the school-based design and the retrospective reports of family structure in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the linked academic transcript data in the Adolescent Health and Achievement Study (n = 6,545), the authors find that students from unstable families do more poorly when they attend schools with a high proportion of academically oriented students. The prevalence of family instability in a school does not moderate the individual experience of family instability in predicting course-taking patterns.
 
Article
A growing body of research has examined how cultural capital, recently broadened to include not only high-status cultural activities but also a range of different parenting practices, influences children’s educational success. Most of this research assumes that parents’ current class location is the starting point of class transmission. However, does the ability of parents to pass advantages to their children, particularly through specific cultural practices, depend solely on their current class location or also on their class of origin? The authors address this question by defining social background as a combination of parents’ current class location and their own family backgrounds. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its Child Development Supplement, the authors examine how different categories of social background are related to parenting practices and children’s academic achievement. The results offer novel insights into the transmission of class advantage across generations and inform debates about the complex processes of cultural reproduction and cultural mobility.
 
Article
This article examines two critical questions related to equality of educational opportunity. First, does the academic advantage that was observed in Catholic high schools more than two decades ago continue to hold for contemporary students in Catholic middle schools? Second, how closely do different school sectors adhere to the common school ideal? Answers to these questions are central to efforts to reduce educational inequalities. The study reported here relies on data from sixth- and eighth-grade students in the Chicago School Study, a longitudinal survey of Chicago public schools, and the Chicago Catholic School Study, a survey of all the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago. These school systems are the third largest public and largest Catholic school systems in the United States. The results show no consistent sector differences in achievement gains in sixth and eighth grades in reading and mathematics. Moreover, background characteristics vary by school sector, and neither sector eliminates all background effects on achievement. Compared to the Chicago public schools, Chicago Catholic schools reduce the effects of students’ race and socioeconomic status on reading achievement but exacerbate the effects of race on mathematics achievement.
 
Article
This paper provides new estimates of the causal effect of cultural capital on academic achievement. I use a difference-in-difference design which addresses the problem of omitted variable bias which has led to too optimistic estimates of the effect of cultural capital on educational success in previous research. After controlling for family and individual fixed effects, I find that (1) cultural capital (measured by indicators of participation in cultural activities, reading climate, and extracurricular activities) has a positive effect on children’s reading and math test scores; (2) the effect of cultural capital is generally smaller than previously reported; and (3) the effect of cultural capital varies across different SES groupings. My results also suggest that the effect of cultural capital on academic achievement varies in low-SES and high-SES environments.
 
Article
The transition to high school is a critical stage in students’ academic trajectories and can be especially difficult for middle school students who struggle academically. Starting high school on a low academic track and with low academic performance often leads to dropping out of high school. This study investigates what might protect academically vulnerable students during the transition to high school by exploring the potential effects social relationships and changing context have on academic outcomes in high school. As students move from middle school to high school, their social relationships are transformed. The degree to which social relationships change is in part a function of the way school districts are organized. The results suggest that middle school social relationships are protective against low academic outcomes in the first year of high school, but not for low-achieving middle school students. In addition, a district context characterized by greater reconfiguration of peer social relationships is not associated with math course placement but protects against course failure, especially among low-achieving middle school students. These results suggest implications for the way districts organize students and how contexts of school transitions have the potential to provide resilience.
 
Article
Reducing socioeconomic differences in college transfer requires understanding how and why parental education, occupational class, and family income are associated with changing colleges. Building on prior studies of traditional community college transfer, the authors explore relationships between those factors and two types of transfer among four-year college students. The results indicate that reverse transfer-the move from a four-year to a community college-is more common among students from less-educated families partly because of lower levels of academic performance during their freshman year. In contrast, students from advantaged backgrounds in terms of class and income are more likely than are others to engage in a lateral transfer-from a four-year to a four-year college-which may reflect individual preferences for changing colleges, rather than a reaction to poor academic performance. Implications for policy and practice are discussed in light of the fact that only reverse transfer is associated with lower rates of completion of bachelor's degrees.
 
Article
Drawing on a year and a half of ethnographic research in three New York City small high schools, this study examines the role of the school in managing school choice and asks what social processes are associated with principals’ disparate approaches. Although district policy did not allow principals to select students based on their performance, two of the three schools in this study circumvented these rules to recruit and retain a population that would meet local accountability targets. This article brings together sensemaking and social network theories to offer a theoretical account of schools’ management of choice in an era of accountability. In doing so, the author demonstrates that principals’ sensemaking about the accountability and choice systems occurred within the interorganizational networks in which they were embedded and was strongly conditioned by their own professional biographies and worldviews. Principals’ networks offered access to resources that could be activated to make sense of the accountability and choice systems. How principals perceived accountability and choice policies influenced whether they activated their social networks for assistance in strategically managing the choice process, as well as how they made sense of advice available to them through these networks. Once activated, principals’ networks provided uneven access to instrumental and expressive resources. Taken together, these results suggest that schools respond to accountability and choice plans in varied ways that are not simply a function of their short-term incentives.
 
Article
School restructuring continues to be a common approach to improving education. Despite restructuring's continued and growing support, there is little research to support its effectiveness. The theoretical contrast exposed in school restructuring is between bureaucratic and organic organizational forms. A study assessed the effect of restructuring on students during their early high school years. Data were used from the first two waves of the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 with a nationally representative sample of 11,794 high school sophomores in 820 secondary schools. Restructuring effects were evaluated on gains in students' engagement and achievement in mathematics, reading, social studies, and science between grades 8 and 10, as well as the social distribution of the gains. Schools were categorized as restructured, moderate, or traditional based on 30 structural practices measures. Restructured high schools and unrestructured schools were contrasted with traditionally reformed schools. High school size was an important structural feature. Results showed that students' achievement and engagement were significantly higher in restructured schools and lower in unrestructured schools. Achievement and engagement gains were also more equitably distributed in restructured schools. Smaller schools also had higher and more equitable engagement and achievement. (Contains 72 references.) (JPT)
 
Article
School systems are called not only to instruct and socialize students but also to differentiate among them. Although much research has investigated inequalities in educational outcomes associated with students’ family background and other ascriptive traits, little research has examined cross-national differences in the total amount of differentiation that school systems produce, the total achievement inequality. This article evaluates whether two dimensions of educational systems—variations in opportunities to learn and intensity of schooling—are associated with achievement inequality independent of family background. It draws data from the Programme for International Student Assessment for more than 50 school systems and models the variance in achievement. Findings suggest that decreasing the variability in opportunities to learn—in the form of greater homogeneity in teacher quality and the absence of tracking—within the school system might reduce achievement inequality. More intense schooling is also related to lower achievement inequality to the extent that this intensity is homogeneously distributed within the school system, particularly in the form of a more highly qualified teacher workforce.
 
Article
Incl. bibl., abstract. Theories of cultural capital and family educational resources explain how and why background matters for achievement, yet it is unclear whether the processes described are equally applicable to nonwhites. The study presented here examined (1) the extent to which black and white students differ in cultural capital and educational resources, (2) the mediating role these attributes may play between family background and racial disparities in achievement, and (3) whether educational returns vary by racial group. The findings suggest that significant racial variations in cultural capital and household educational items are largely a function of disparities in family socioeconomic status, but that these resources have only a small mediating effect on the gap in black-white achievement. Black and low-SES students tend to receive less educational return, probably because of micropolitical evaluative processes at the school and classroom levels.
 
Article
This study examined the impact of attending restructured schools on the achievement and engagement of young adolescents. The restructuring movement is placed within the conceptual framework that favors the development of more communally organized schools, as opposed to the largely bureaucratic model of most American schools. Using a subsample of data from the base year of the National Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88), including 8,845 eighth graders in 377 public, Catholic, and independent middle-grade schools, the effects of school restructuring on student achievement, engagement with academic work, and the extent of at-risk behaviors are examined. The construct of restructuring is captured as less departmentalization, more heterogeneous grouping, more team teaching, and a composite index of restructuring. The study makes use of multilevel analytic models and includes statistical controls for characteristics of students and schools. Findings indicate that restructuring has modest but positive effects on both achievement and engagement and contributes to a more equitable distribution of these outcomes among students from different social backgrounds. Students attending schools with fewer eighth-grade peers also demonstrate more academic engagement and a more equitable distribution of achievement. Eight tables and 18 technical notes are included. Appendices include tables of hierarchical linear models. (98 references) (LMI)
 
Article
In this paper we argue that previous research has overlooked structural and organizational factors as possible explanations of sex differences in the mathematics achievement of schoolchildren. In particular, we focus on ability grouping as a possible mechanism through which differential opportunities to learn mathematics are presented to males and females and as an instructional practice generating social-psychological processes that differentially affect students by sex. We test the argument on longitudinal data from a larger sample of students in fourth- through sixth-grade classes in both desegregated and segregated schools. The results show that sex is a factor in the assignment of students to ability groups: Males are more likely than females to be assigned to the high-ability group. Nevertheless, the analyses do not reveal an effect of ability-group level on growth in mathematics achievement.
 
Article
Students in the United States change schools often, and frequent changes are associated with poor outcomes along numerous dimensions. These moves occur for many reasons, including both promotional transitions between educational levels and nonpromotional moves. Promotional student mobility is less likely than nonpromotional mobility to suffer from confounding due to unobserved factors. Using panel data from students enrolled in grades 3 to 8 in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools during the implementation of a major change in school attendance policies, this article investigates the potential influence of four types of school changes—including promotional student mobility—on test score growth in reading and mathematics. All types of changes are associated with lower achievement growth during the year the enrollment change occurred, representing approximately 6 percent of expected annual growth, or 10 days of instruction. This incremental deficit is particularly concerning for disadvantaged students since they change schools more frequently. The results suggest that being new to a school does influence student achievement net of other factors; they also imply that important social ties are ruptured when students change schools.
 
Article
The controversy over school segregation and student achievement has drawn heavily on evidence derived from the 1965 Equality of Educational Opportunity Survey (EEOS). This paper tries to remedy the two principal limitations of Coleman et al.'s original analysis of the EEOS data. Since the EEOS was not a longitudinal study, we cannot compare the initial and final achievement of individual students at two points in time. We can, however, compare first and sixth graders in the same elementary schools. We can also compare ninth and twelfth graders in the same high schools. If we assume that the first graders entering a school in 1965 had test scores comparable to the sixth graders' scores when they entered the same school in 1960, we can determine whether the sixth graders' test scores rose or fell relative to national norms in the interval. We can do the same thing at the high school level. Such reanalysis has produced results suggesting that the test performance of students in 51-75 percent of white schools improved relative to national norms between first and sixth grade. This applied to both black and white students in such schools. Black students' performance relative to national norms seemed to decline slightly if they were in 76-100 percent white schools, and to remain constant if they were in 0-50 percent white schools. The racial composition of a high school did not appear to have had any appreciable effect on either black or white students' test scores between ninth and twelfth grades. (Author/JM)
 
Article
This article examines the overall strength, the qualitative pattern, and the evolution over time of gender segregation in higher education across eight European countries. Although previous studies have focused primarily on the divide between humanistic and scientific fields, this work indicates that this divide accounts for no more than half of the association between gender and college major. The degree of gender imbalance is highly variable within scientific fields as well as within humanistic fields. We can make sense of these findings once we posit the existence of a second, equally important gender divide that can be described as the care–technical divide. Accordingly, this work develops a topological model to show that these two dimensions together account for more than 90 percent of gender segregation in the countries under study. Moreover, this model can be used to show the noticeable degree of cross-national stability in both the qualitative pattern and the overall strength of gender segregation. The empirical analyses also point to a generalized stagnation of integration of college majors in recent decades. Taken together, these results indicate that gender segregation has stabilized to an almost identical level and displays a similar qualitative pattern in several countries. This suggests that cultural forces underlying gender segregation are highly resilient, not least because they are sustained by a number of structural developments in educational and occupational institutions.
 
Article
Although some scholars report that all students are better served by attending more prestigious postsecondary institutions, others have argued that students are better off attending colleges where they are about average in terms of academic ability and suffer worse outcomes if they attend schools that are “out of their league” at which they are “overmatched.” The latter argument is most frequently deployed as a paternalistic justification for ending affirmative action. We take advantage of a natural admissions experiment at the University of California to test the effect of being overmatched for students on the margin of admission to elite universities. Consistent with the mismatch hypothesis, we find that students accumulate more credits when they attend less demanding institutions. However, students do not earn higher grades and are no more or less likely to drop out of schools where they are overmatched and are less likely to drop out than they would have been had they attended less demanding institutions.
 
Article
Peer relationships in secondary schools in two different cultural areas of India are compared. A general theory of status relations and a specification of the distinctive cultural features of each area are used to explain the observed differences in peer inequality, clique formation, petty deviance, putdowns, fashion consciousness, romantic relationships, and gossip. A surprising finding is that the degree of status inequality among school peers is inversely related to an ideological emphasis on equality and hierarchy: The more egalitarian the cultural ideology, the greater the inequality in peer relationships, and conversely, the more emphasis on hierarchy, the less the actual peer inequality. The apparent paradox is resolved by specifying the structural mechanisms through which cultural and ideological differences operate. Brief comparisons with the United States suggest that these findings are not unique to India.
 
Rosenbaum Bounds, Effect of Arrest on Dropout
Rosenbaum Bounds, Effect of Arrest on College Enrollment
Article
Official sanctioning of students by the criminal justice system is a long-hypothesized source of educational disadvantage, but its explanatory status remains unresolved. Few studies of the educational consequences of a criminal record account for alternative explanations such as low self-control, lack of parental supervision, deviant peers, and neighborhood disadvantage. Moreover, virtually no research on the effect of a criminal record has examined the ‘‘black box’’ of mediating mechanisms or the consequence of arrest for postsecondary educational attainment. Analyzing longitudinal data with multiple and independent assessments of theoretically relevant domains, the authors estimate the direct effect of arrest on later high school dropout and college enrollment for adolescents with otherwise equivalent neighborhood, school, family, peer, and individual characteristics as well as similar frequency of criminal offending. The authors present evidence that arrest has a substantively large and robust impact on dropping out of high school among Chicago public school students. They also find a significant gap in four-year college enrollment between arrested and otherwise similar youth without a criminal record. The authors also assess intervening mechanisms hypothesized to explain the process by which arrest disrupts the schooling process and, in turn, produces collateral educational damage. The results imply that institutional responses and disruptions in students’ educational trajectories, rather than social-psychological factors, are responsible for the arrest–education link.
 
Variables of Interest: Definitions, Sources, and Descriptives
(continued)
Logistic Regression of Third-grade Math and Reading Teachers' Evaluations Regressed on Classroom Computer Proficiency (Odds Ratios) 
Ordinary Least Squares Regressions of Fifth-grade Math and Reading Achievement on Classroom Computer Proficiency (Third-grade Independent Variables)
(continued)
Article
We update theories of teacher expectancy and cultural capital by linking them to discussions of technology. We argue for broadening the span of culturally important forms of capital by including the digital dimension of cultural capital. Based on data from the third-grade and fifth-grade waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey–Kindergarten cohort (ECLS-K), results suggest a comprehensive model where teachers play a prominent, mediating role in the effects of computer proficiency on academic achievement. These findings have practical applications within classrooms, which can lead to a reduction in stratification. Our findings modernize and renew theoretical tools for understanding teacher and student interactions and the effects on achievement outcomes
 
UNESCO Associated Schools, Global Cumulative Count and Yearly Adoptions Source: UNESCO (1955, 1971, 1979, 1995, 2002)  
Definitions and Descriptive Statistics for Variables Used in the Analysis of Adoptions of UNESCO Associated Schools, 1953-2001 Variable Definition Mean SD Minimum Maximum
Article
The UNESCO Associated Schools Project emphasizes world community, human rights, and international understanding. This article investigates the emergence and global diffusion of the project from 1953 to 2001, estimating the influence of national, regional, and world characteristics on the likelihood of a country adopting a UNESCO school. It also addresses the effects of national linkages to the international human rights regime. The results reveal that adoption rates are positively influenced by stronger national links to the human rights regime throughout the period and that various measures of the density of global society influence adoption, particularly after the institutionalization of human rights. Finally, the results demonstrate that democratic countries and nations with more expanded educational systems tend to adopt a UNESCO school before the period of human rights institutionalization. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the literature on the global environment and the diffusion of innovations in education.
 
Article
Relational theories of gender conceptualize masculinity and femininity as mutually constitutive. Using a relational approach, I analyzed ethnographic and interview data from male and female black adolescents in Grades 8 through 10 enrolled in ‘‘Diversify,’’ an urban-to-suburban racial integration program (n = 38).1 Suburban students (n = 7) and Diversify coordinators (n = 9) were also interviewed. All the bussed students, male and female, were racially stereotyped. Yet as a group, the Diversify boys were welcomed in suburban social cliques, even as they were constrained to enacting race and gender in narrow ways. In contrast, the Diversify girls were stereotyped as ‘‘ghetto’’ and ‘‘loud’’ and excluded. In discussing these findings, the current study extends previous research on black girls’ ‘‘loudness,’’ identifies processes of racialization and gendering within a set of wealthy suburban schools, and offers new theoretical directions for the study of racially integrated settings.
 
Article
The data for this paper are taken mainly from a longitudinal study of the college graduating class of 1961. Based on a subsample of earlier respondents, this study was primarily concerned with the graduates' evaluation of his college, his opinions on the goals of higher education in general, his opinions on the financing of higher education, and his plans for his children's college education. Questionnaires were received from 4,868 of the 6,005 persons in the subsample, for a response rate of 81%. The questionnaire included items on political attitudes and orientations. The questions that concern this paper were part of a battery tapping support for student and black militancy, and views on draft deferments for students. Results include the following: students in humanities were likely to support protests; and father's education is one of the strongest early determinants of support for militancy. There is a possibility that studies such as this can be used to predict to a college which applicants will engage in protest and the use of such a study to prevent the admission of such applicants. However, it is the very characteristics that support dissent that colleges are looking for in potential students. Therefore, colleges are unlikely to deny admission to bright children from well-educated families or students who are likely to go on to graduate school for the reasons that they may support activism while at school. (Author/PG)
 
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