Stewart, Endya B.
Individual and School Structural Effects on African American High School Students' Academic Achievement
Florida State University
Examined the extent to which individual-level and school structural variables predict academic achievement among a sample of 10th grade African American students abstracted from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS) database.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The High School Journal
Vol. 91, No. 2, pp. 16-34
- Individual-Level Model:
- Two of the school effort measures, school attachment and school commitment, were significantly and positively related to GPA. This indicates that students who display higher levels of effort in their schooling, as measured by school attachment (.42) and school commitment (.48), have higher GPAs.
- Further, associations with positive peers (.12) and parent-child discussion (.20) were significant predictors. The direction of the effect suggests that frequent associations with positive peers and parent-child discussions are associated with higher GPA.
- Contrary to expectations, school involvement was not significantly related to GPA. Also, parental school involvement and family SES were not significantly related to GPA.
- Individual-level and School Structural Model:
- After controlling for individual-level variables, only one of the six school structural variables had a significant effect on GPA: school cohesion (.014). Schools with greater cohesion (i.e., more positive interactions and trust among students and teachers) had higher average student GPAs.
- School poverty, proportion non-white, school location, school size, and school social problems were not significantly associated with average GPA when school cohesion and individual-level predictors were taken into account.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Parents, Race, Racial Composition, SES Composition, School Characteristics, Student Characteristics
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Data were abstracted from the second wave (1990) of the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS), a comprehensive national probability study of students, teachers, schools, and families designed and funded by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
- Sample includes 1,238 African American students found within 546 high schools. Fifty-two percent of the sample was female.
- Data collected on individual-level characteristics were based on student reports. School officials (administrators and teachers) and students provided information about school characteristics. Finally, unlike the initial survey (1988) undertaken when the students were in eighth grade, the second wave survey (1990) provides a variety of peer influence and teacher expectation measures.
- DV: Academic achievement (measured by self-reported GPA; students reported their current grades in math, English, history, and science)
- IV: Individual-level measures: student effort (measured as school attachment, school involvement, and school commitment), association with positive peers, parental school involvement, parent-child discussion, family structure, gender, family SES (measured by parents’ highest level of education and income); School structural measures: school size, proportion non-white, school poverty, school location, school social problems, school cohesion