Castillo, Yvette Laura
The Effects of Racial Dissonance on the Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem of Hispanic Middle School Students
West Texas A&M University
Assess the relevance of Rosenberg's theory of racial dissonance with Hispanic middle school students.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The University of Texas at Austin
- Results indicated that Rosenberg's dissonance theory was not supported with regard to academic performance and self-esteem.
- Results did support Rosenberg's notion of a dissonant communications environment. Regardless of ethnicity, majority status in a school context was associated with lowered levels of perceived discrimination.
- Evidence that the phenomenon of desegregation contributes to the persistence of inequality of education for Hispanic students.
- The racial dissonance/consonance of the school settings did not appear to have a significant effect on self-reported grades.
- Hispanic students at the dissonant school setting reported more positive school-related behaviors than Hispanic in the other school contexts. Because the effects sizes for these analyses were small, the differences across school and ethnicity were relatively small.
- Self-esteem did not vary by ethnicity and/or school attended, after controlling for parental education.
- Self-esteem scores did not vary according to school attended and/or grade level, nor did the scores differed with regard to differences in the students' ages.
- The hypothesis concerning perceived discrimination received the strongest support, since both Hispanic and non-Hispanic Whites reported lower levels of perceived discrimination in consonant school contexts than their same-race counterparts in dissonant or balanced school settings. Overall, school attended, not the interplay between student ethnicity and the racial distribution of the school (dissonance/consonance), emerged as the most consistent factor associated with the outcomes of the dependent variables.
Academic Achievement, Hispanics, Latinos, Racial Composition, Self-Esteem
Method of Analysis:
Four middle schools in Austin
Unit of Analysis:
- Sample included 1037 Hispanic and 683 non-Hispanic White middle school students, ages 10-15, from four middle schools in an urban Southwestern area.
- Selected 4 middle schools: one was classified as racially dissonant for Hispanic (a non-Hispanic white majority school), two were racially balanced (with differing racial mixes), and one was racially consonant for Hispanic (a majority Hispanic school).
- Only analyzes quantitative data because qualitative data were only available for 2 of the schools. Qualitative data were used to provide a description of the school contexts of middle schools A and B.
- DV: Academic achievement (self-reported grades- mostly As, Mostly As and Bs, Mostly Bs and Cs, and Mostly Fs., self-esteem and perceived discrimination
- IV: Demographic variables, grades, school-related behaviors (time spent on homework, days absent), self-esteem (Rosenberg self-esteem scale), dissonant communications environment.
- Control variables: SES, parental education.
- Purpose: Investigate the differential impact of a racially consonant, racially balanced and racially dissonant school settings on the academic achievement, school-related behaviors, and self-esteem of Hispanic middle school students.
- 5 different analysis:
- (1) - DV: self reported grades, IV: school, ethnicity, CV: parental education
- (2) DV: school-related behaviors Z score, IV: school, ethnicity, CV: parental education
- (3) DV: global self-esteem score, IV: school, ethnicity, CV: parental education
- (4) DV:RSE self esteem score, IV: school and ethnicity, grade level, CV: maternal education
- (5) DV: perceived discrimination, IV: school and ethnicity, CV: maternal education