Author: Palardy, Gregory J.

Title: High School Socioeconomic Composition and College Choice: Multilevel Mediation Via Organizational Habitus, School, Practices, Peer and Staff Attitudes

University Affiliation: University of California, Riverside


Research Question:

1) Is high school socioeconomic composition (SEC) predictive of students’ college choice?

2) Does SEC have a direct effect on college choice and indirect effects mediated by college choice organizational habitus (CCOH) related school practices and peer, family, and staff attitudes?

3) To what degree do direct and indirect effects of SEC depend on student and school input characteristics?

Published: Yes

Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation: School Effectiveness and School Improvement

Journal Entry: Vol. 26, No. 3, Pp. 329-353

Year: 2015


  1. 85% of the 2002 10th graders who attended a high-SEC school were enrolled in college in the fall of 2004, directly after their expected graduation date, compared to 53% who attended a low-SEC school.
  2. Students in high-SEC enrolled in selective colleges at approximately 4 times the rate of their low SEC counterparts.
  3. Students attending low-SEC schools had GPAs 0.54 lower and standard achievement test scores 1 standard deviation lower than students who attended high-SEC schools.
  4. Students attending low-SEC schools had family and SEC backgrounds suggestive of educational disadvantage.
  5. The average student SEC at a low-SEC school is approximately 3 standard deviations lower than at high-SEC schools, and more than double the proportion of students are from underrepresented racial groups.
  6. Low-SEC schools are three times more likely to be located in rural area, 5 times more likely to be small sized and have 18% lower teacher salaries.
  7. SEC has a significant total effect on college choice.
  8. 47% of the total effect on of SEC flows directly to CCOH, the other 53% is mediated by CCOH.
  9. At baseline, college prep curriculum, academic mission, homework emphasis, peer attitudes and staff attitudes were significant CCOH mediators. Family attitudes were not significant.
  10. After controlling for student inputs (students’ family and academic background and whether they had a need for and access to college financial aid), peer and staff attitudes remained statistically significant mediators of the SEC effect on college choice.
  11. Likewise, after controlling for school inputs, peer and staff attitudes remained statistically significant mediators of the SEC effect on college choice.

Scholarship Type Journal Article Empirical Research

Keywords: College, Peer Effects, SES Composition, School Organization

Regions National

Methodologies: Quantitative

Research Designs: Secondary Survey Data

Method of Analysis: Regression

Sampling Frame: High school sophomores in America in 2002

Sample Types: Nationally Representative

Unit of Analysis: Student

Data Types: Quantitative-Longitudinal

Data Description:

Relevance: Links high school composition and its impacts on college choice.

Entry Created at: 2016-01-27 06:12:07 UTC
Last Update: 2016-09-10 01:06:45 UTC