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Longitudinal Inter-relations between School Cultural Socialization and School Engagement among Urban Early Adolescents

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Culturally relevant practices are valuable assets for ethnically-racially diverse schools, but few studies examine whether such practices promote students’ engagement in school longitudinally and whether ethnicity-race moderates the effects of such practices on students’ engagement. To address this gap, the present study examined whether schools that acknowledge and promote positive messages about youth’s ethnicity-race (i.e., school cultural socialization practices) promoted multiple dimensions of students’ school engagement and whether these links differed between African American and European American students. Data were collected in four waves during a two-year period from 403 fifth graders (55.1% males; 63% African American, 37% European American). The results revealed that African American youth who perceived more school cultural socialization reported greater behavioral and affective engagement (but not cognitive engagement) six months later. European Americans’ perceived school cultural socialization was unrelated to their levels of engagement in later months. Across groups, neither type of engagement predicted subsequent school cultural socialization, supporting the direction of effects in the results. Implications are discussed regarding how educators can leverage cultural socialization to promote school engagement among African American youth.
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Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2021) 50:978991
Longitudinal Inter-relations between School Cultural Socialization
and School Engagement among Urban Early Adolescents
Juan Del Toro 1Ming-Te Wang1
Received: 20 September 2020 / Accepted: 15 December 2020 / Published online: 13 January 2021
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature 2021
Culturally relevant practices are valuable assets for ethnically-racially diverse schools, but few studies examine whether such
practices promote studentsengagement in school longitudinally and whether ethnicity-race moderates the effects of such
practices on studentsengagement. To address this gap, the present study examined whether schools that acknowledge and
promote positive messages about youths ethnicity-race (i.e., school cultural socialization practices) promoted multiple
dimensions of studentsschool engagement and whether these links differed between African American and European
American students. Data were collected in four waves during a two-year period from 403 fth graders (55.1% males; 63%
African American, 37% European American). The results revealed that African American youth who perceived more school
cultural socialization reported greater behavioral and affective engagement (but not cognitive engagement) six months later.
European Americansperceived school cultural socialization was unrelated to their levels of engagement in later months.
Across groups, neither type of engagement predicted subsequent school cultural socialization, supporting the direction of
effects in the results. Implications are discussed regarding how educators can leverage cultural socialization to promote
school engagement among African American youth.
Keywords Cultural socialization School engagement Early adolescence Ethnicity-race
African American students who learn more about their
ethnic-racial groups history, traditions, and values in the
classroom may experience more equitable academic tra-
jectories. For instance, African American adolescents who
feel connected to their ethnic-racial group show positive
academic outcomes (Miller-Cotto and Byrnes 2016). One
recent meta-analysis found that youth demonstrated favor-
able academic engagement and performance in school when
their caregivers involved them in the positive discourse
surrounding their cultural heritage, history, and values
(Wang et al. 2019), activities known as cultural socializa-
tion (Hughes et al. 2006). Because most studies to date have
examined parental cultural socialization, the role of school
cultural socialization in shaping African American youths
school engagement is relatively unclear (Hughes et al.
2011). Educators may be important sources of cultural
socialization as adolescents spend most of their day-to-day
lives in schools. In addition, given the multifaceted nature
of school engagement, knowledge regarding how school
cultural socialization relates to different dimensions of
engagement can inform best school practices that promote
studentsacademic trajectories (Wang and Peck 2013). In
addition, when examining academic-related outcomes rela-
tive to school cultural socialization, researchers lump mul-
tiple ethnicities-races into a single group (Byrd 2017). Due
to African American youths experiences of ethnic-race-
based marginalization relative to their European American
peers (Garcia Coll et al. 1996), youths ethnicity-race may
moderate the effect of school cultural socialization on each
domain of engagement. Thus, this study aimed to investi-
gate whether schoolscultural socialization practices pre-
dicted adolescentsbehavioral, affective, and cognitive
engagement in school and whether the associations between
cultural socialization and each domain of engagement var-
ied by adolescentsethnicity-race. Repeated assessments
were used to address the developmental complexity of the
*Juan Del Toro
1Learning Research and Development Center, University of
Pittsburgh, 3939 OHara Street, Ofce #745, Pittsburgh, PA
15260, USA
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... Unfortunately, few empirical studies have linked school cultural socialization to school climate and student engagement simultaneously and longitudinally. In the few studies that have examined the link between school cultural socialization and school climate, researchers have found that adolescents who received cultural socialization messages from educators also had more favorable views of their teachers (Howard, 2001), reported greater engagement in school (Del Toro & Wang, 2021), were more likely to believe that school rules were clearly and consistently enforced (Byrd, 2017), and reported a stronger sense of belonging and interpersonal relationships in school (Byrd, 2015(Byrd, , 2017Dickson, Chun, & Fernandez, 2015). In turn, positive school-based interpersonal relationships and students' trust in school authority's engagement in fair discipline practices-both of which are major components of school climate-have been found to predict greater engagement in school (Benner, Graham, & Mistry, 2008;Griffin, Cooper, Metzger, Golden, & White, 2017;Wang, Degol, Amemiya, Parr, & Guo, 2020). ...
The question of whether schools should promote cultural pride and engage students in ethnic traditions is hotly contested. To contribute to this debate, this longitudinal study examined whether school cultural socialization predicted adolescents' engagement in school over time and whether this relation was mediated by school climate. Data were collected in four waves during a two-year period from 254 African American fifth-graders (53.9% males; Mage = 10.95 at Wave 1) enrolled in three public middle schools. Results revealed that African American youth who reported more school cultural socialization also had greater school engagement over time. This longitudinal relation was fully mediated by youth's perceptions of school climate. Implications for how to promote African American youth's perceptions of schools as culturally sensitive and supportive environments are discussed.
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With the advent of positive psychology in second language (L2) learning, some researchers have undertaken empirical studies to explore emotional variables affecting L2 learning and how positive emotions can enhance the engagement of L2 learners. As an attempt to contribute to this research domain, this project sought to test a model of student engagement based on classroom social climate (CSC) and foreign language enjoyment (FLE) among English language learners in Iran. A sample of 386 intermediate English as a foreign language (EFL) learners took part in this survey by completing the online battery of questionnaires. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was employed for the analysis of the gathered data. The results showed that both CSC and FLE were significant predictors of student engagement, with FLE acting as a stronger predictor. Furthermore, CSC exerted a slight influence on FLE. The findings of the present study verify the contributions of positive psychology to L2 pedagogy, implying that pleasant perceptions of learning context and positive emotions can lead to further student engagement.
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This article analyzes the relationship between cyberbullying profile by racist reasons and social abilities in a group of intercultural teenagers living in Spain (N = 1478). The study includes participants aged between 12 and 16 years old (M = 13.99; SD = 1.352). Of these, 738 were male (49.9%) and 740 were female (50.1%). A correlational study was carried out using online tools with suitable psychometrics parameters (content-construct validity and reliability). The first one was a scale that measured social abilities, and the second one evaluated racist or xenophobic cyberbullying, differentiating the victim and aggressor profiles. The results indicated five main findings: (1) generally, the participants analyzed present all their social abilities; (2) for the most part, these participants do not normally experience cyberbullying; (3) a positive correlation exists between the majority of social abilities analyzed and the cybervictim profile. It was also observed a negative correlation between the social ability associated with the ability of making requests and this profile; (4) there is a positive correlation among the six social abilities analyzed and the cyberaggressor profile; (5) the racist or xenophobic cyberbullying are driven not only by the absence of social abilities, but in some cases, they are also driven by socio-demographic variables (i.e., age and gender). Likewise, this work shows how the absence of some social abilities in some participants involve racist or xenophobic experiences as victims and as aggressors, which may be of interest for the analysis of teenagers’ behavior in intercultural contexts, as well as according to age and gender. More transcultural research need to be carried out to know the global perspective of the link between social abilities and the different profiles of racist and xenophobic cyberbullying, framed in the context of social psychology and studies of mass communication.
Negative interactions with the legal system can inform adolescents' relationships with schools. The present daily-diary study examined 13,545 daily survey assessments from 387 adolescents (Mage = 13-14; 40% male; 32% Black, 50% White, and 18% Other ethnic-racial minority) across 35 days to assess whether police stops predicted adolescents' school disengagement through their psychological distress as a mediator. Results showed that 9% of youth experienced at least one police stop, and 66 stops occurred in total over the 35-day study course. Youth stopped by the police reported greater next-day school disengagement, and youth's psychological distress mediated the link between police stops and school disengagement. Disengagement did not predict youth's next-day police stops. In addition, ethnic-racial minority youth reported more negative police encounters than did White youth, and the effect of a police stop on next-day psychological distress was more negative for Other ethnic-racial minority youth. Implications for reducing police intervention in adolescents' lives are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
Despite notable improvements in theory and methods that center the lived experiences of Black adolescents, White supremacy endures in developmental science. In this article, we focus on one methodological manifestation of White supremacy—sampling decisions that assume Black adolescents are a homogeneous group. We examine overlooked concerns about within-group designs with Black adolescents, such as the erasure of some African diasporic communities in the United States. We first describe the homogeneity assumption and join other scholars in advocating for within-group designs. We next describe challenges with current approaches to within-group designs. We then provide recommendations for antiracist research that makes informed within-group design sampling decisions. We conclude by describing the implications of these strategies for researchers and developmental science.
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Researchers commonly interpret effect sizes by applying benchmarks proposed by Cohen over a half century ago. However, effects that are small by Cohen's standards are large relative to the impacts of most field-based interventions. These benchmarks also fail to consider important differences in study features, program costs, and scalability. In this paper, I present five broad guidelines for interpreting effect sizes that are applicable across the social sciences. I then propose a more structured schema with new empirical benchmarks for interpreting a specific class of studies: causal research on education interventions with standardized achievement outcomes. Together, these tools provide a practical approach for incorporating study features, cost, and scalability into the process of interpreting the policy importance of effect sizes.
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Despite growing evidence that racial-ethnic discrimination has a critical impact on college students of color, there is a shortage of longitudinal studies investigating such discrimination across the course of students’ college careers. The present study examined trajectories of professor- and peer-perpetrated ethnic-racial discrimination across the first three years in college and the correlations between these trajectories and academic, psychological, and physical adjustment outcomes during students’ fourth year in a sample of 770 Black, 835 Asian American, and 742 Latino college students (total n = 2347; 60.1% female) at elite colleges and universities in the United States. Latent growth modeling revealed stability in reported peer discrimination over the first three years of college and an increase in reported discrimination from professors. Discrimination from peers and professors equally predicted unfavorable grades, a lower likelihood of on-time graduation, and less school satisfaction. Perceived discrimination from peers (but not from professors) during students’ first year predicted higher rates of depressive symptoms and more health problems in their fourth year. Although initial levels and trajectories of discrimination varied as a function of students’ ethnicity-race, the correlates between discrimination and adjustment outcomes did not vary between ethnic-racial groups. The present findings suggest that ethnic-racial discrimination is a complex, ecologically-based stressor that presents a constellation of challenges for students of color attending elite colleges and universities.
Historic racial disparities in the United States have created an urgent need for evidence‐based strategies promoting African American students’ academic performance via school‐based ethnic‐racial socialization and identity development. However, the temporal order among socialization, identity, and academic performance remains unclear in extant literature. This longitudinal study examined whether school cultural socialization predicted 961 African American adolescents’ grade point averages through their ethnic‐racial identities (49.6% males; Mage = 13.60; 91.9% qualified for free lunch). Results revealed that youth who perceived more school cultural socialization had better grades 1 and 2 years later. In addition, identity commitment (but not exploration) fully mediated these relations. Implications for how educators can help adolescents of color succeed in schools are discussed.
Researchers have become interested in the school climate experiences of Black youth given findings of less positive evaluations of school climate in comparison to their other-race peers. School support for cultural pluralism, also referred to as school support for cultural diversity, has been regarded as one aspect of school climate, but is sometimes distinct from Black youth's ratings of general perceptions of school climate. This project sought to understand the relationship between Black students' perceptions of school support for cultural pluralism and perceptions of school climate. Structural equation modeling techniques were used to determine whether previous perceptions of school support for cultural pluralism predicted later perceptions of school climate in a sample of 336 Black adolescents (Mage = 13.74 years). Furthermore, racial identity was explored as the mechanism through which school support for cultural pluralism impacted school climate appraisals, and differences between Black boys (N = 151) and Black girls (N = 185) were tested. Results confirmed that Black youth who rated their school as being supportive of culturally pluralism had more positive ratings of school climate during the following school year after controlling for the previous year's school climate ratings. However, the mediating role of racial identity differed for Black boys and Black girls, underscoring the need for intersectional research for Black youth and the importance of racial identity. We conclude with a discussion regarding the importance of racial/ethnic identity and pluralism within the school context, as well as, the unique role of school psychologists as preventionists and advocates of change within schools.
Although research has documented the link between classroom climate and children’s learning, evidence about whether and how classroom characteristics are linked to academic and psychological outcomes remains equivocal. This study used a meta-analytic approach to synthesize existing research with the goal of determining (a) the extent to which classroom climate as a multidimensional construct was associated with youth’s academic, behavioral, and socioemotional outcomes from kindergarten to high school and (b) whether the relations between classroom climate and youth’s outcomes differed by dimensions of classroom climate, study design, and child characteristics. Analysis included 61 studies (679 effect sizes and 73,824 participants) published between 2000 and 2016. The results showed that overall classroom climate had small-to-medium positive associations with social competence, motivation and engagement, and academic achievement and small negative associations with socioemotional distress and externalizing behaviors. Moderator analyses revealed that the negative association between classroom climate and socioemotional distress varied by classroom climate dimensions, with socioemotional support being the strongest. The strength of the associations between classroom climate and youth’s outcomes also differed by measurement of classroom climate and study design, though the patterns of the associations were mostly consistent.
The construct of engagement provides a holistic lens for understanding how children interact with learning activities, with distinct behavioral, emotional-affective, and cognitive components forming a multidimensional engagement profile for each child. As the understanding of engagement and recognition of its complexity grow, a pressing need has emerged for a synthetic, coherent review that simultaneously integrates extant literature and clarifies the conceptualization of engagement, identifies its key facilitators and consequences, and proffers a theoretical framework that elaborates on how engagement functions. Using a developmental-contextual approach, this article integrates empirical and theoretical scholarship to illustrate how engagement is produced by developmental and relational processes involving transactions across multiple ecologies. The integrative model of engagement offers a comprehensive perspective on the multiple pathways-psychological, cognitive, social, and cultural-underlying the development of children's engagement. Conceptualizing engagement as a multidimensional construct shaped by interactions between an individual and the environment enriches the field's understanding of the personal, contextual, and sociocultural factors that foster or undermine engagement. This framing also enhances understanding of the psychosocial mechanisms through which learning environments influence engagement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
This chapter's goal is to interrogate the intersectional significance of race and socioeconomic status for children of varied statuses of human vulnerability. It provides a context-connected, culture acknowledging, systems model and identity formation perspective. This strategy is ideal for delineating behavioral consistencies (and interpreting inconsistencies). When operationalized with programming opportunities, it accommodates the nation's diversity and aids the interpretation of findings. This chapter is divided into several sections: First, it interrogates critical insights afforded by a "resiliency-vulnerability" approach; second, it draws attention to the roles of culture, culturally competent practices, and justice-informed contexts for children's perception-based "meaning making" as each-increasingly with age-navigates multiple social ecologies. Third, it shifts to and emphasizes the intersectionally relevant factors of race (e.g., identifiability and skin color stereotyping) and socioeconomic status (i.e., both low resourced and privileging situations); and following a synthesis of the previous sections-as Section 4-it then frames the cumulative and integrated conceptual strategy (phenomenological variant of ecological systems theory: PVEST). In Section 5, the chapter presents theory-focused exemplars to illustrate the theory's efficacy, which are followed by results of two recent preliminary application projects. Salient is that the two projects presenting preliminary findings add to and afford important child development insights salient as strategies for neutralizing intersectionality effects and maximizing resiliency outcomes. To sum, synthesizing several decades of scholarship, theorizing, contemporary research and programming application efforts, the handbook chapter concludes with suggested strategies for creating more informed policies and practices relevant to all children's overall resiliency, healthy development and well-being.
Increased attention is being placed on the importance of ethnic‐racial socialization in children of color's academic outcomes. Synthesizing research on the effects of parental ethnic‐racial socialization, this meta‐analysis of 37 studies reveals that overall the relation between ethnic‐racial socialization and academic outcomes was positive, though the strength varied by the specific academic outcome under consideration, dimension of ethnic‐racial socialization utilized, developmental age of the child receiving the socialization, and racial/ethnic group implementing the socialization. Ethnic‐racial socialization was positively related to academic performance, motivation, and engagement, with motivation being the strongest outcome. Most dimensions of ethnic‐racial socialization were positively related to academic outcomes, except for promotion of mistrust. In addition, the link between ethnic‐racial socialization and academic outcomes was strongest for middle school and college students, and when looking across ethnic‐racial groups, this link was strongest for African American youth. The results suggest that different dimensions of ethnic‐racial socialization have distinct relationships with diverse academic outcomes and that the effects of ethnic‐racial socialization vary by both youth developmental levels and racial/ethnic groups.
Although minor misconduct is normative in adolescence, such behavior may be met with punishment in American schools. As part of a punitive disciplinary approach, teachers may give adolescents official infractions for minor misconduct-that is, a minor infraction-presumably to deter future problem behavior. This article investigates three arguments that challenge the wisdom of this assumption and considers the potentially detrimental effects of minor infractions: (a) minor infractions increase, rather than deter, adolescents' defiant behavior; (b) these effects are exacerbated among adolescents who are highly attached to school; and (c) teachers' punishment of minor misconduct may be racially biased, resulting in African American students receiving more minor infractions than White students. To test these hypotheses, 729 adolescents' school disciplinary records were analyzed over 1 academic year. Longitudinal multilevel analyses were conducted to assess (a) if receiving minor infractions predicted later increases in infractions for defiant behavior at the within-student level, (b) whether adolescents' attachment to school moderated this association, and (c) if a disparity existed between African American and White students' average level of minor infractions. Results indicated that minor infractions predicted subsequent rises in defiant behavior, and this link was exacerbated for adolescents who reported initially high levels, but not low levels, of school attachment. Furthermore, African American students received more minor infractions than White students, controlling for a host of risk factors for school misconduct. Findings are discussed in relation to American school discipline policies and African Americans' persistent overrepresentation in school discipline and the criminal justice system. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
As the United States becomes more diverse, the ways in which mainstream institutions recognize and address race and ethnicity will be increasingly important. Here, we show that one novel and salient characteristic of an institutional environment, that is, whether a school emphasizes the value of racial and ethnic diversity, predicts better cardiometabolic health among adolescents of color. Using a diverse sample of adolescents who attend more than 100 different schools in predominantly urban locations, we find that when schools emphasize the value of diversity (operationalized as mentioning diversity in their mission statements), students of color, but not white students, have lower values on a composite of five biomarkers of inflammation, have less insulin resistance and compensatory β-cell activity, and have fewer metabolic syndrome signs and score lower on a continuous metabolic syndrome composite. These results suggest that institutions that emphasize diversity may play an unacknowledged role in protecting the health of people of color and, thus, may be a site for future interventions to reduce health disparities.