The Intersection of School Ethnic Composition and Structure: Predicting Social and Academic Outcomes Among Latino Students
Utah State University
Research Question 1: How is school ethnic composition, as measured by the proportion of same-ethnicity peers in a school and school ethnic diversity, related to social and academic outcomes among Latino students?
Research Question 2: Does the relation between school ethnic composition and social and academic outcomes among Latino students depend on other characteristics of the school context?
Research Question 3: Does the relation between school ethnic composition and social and academic outcomes among Latino students depend on the characteristics of students?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Utah State University Dissertation
School ethnic diversity squared predicted the odds of high school completion across all schools. An increase in school diversity, indicates that Latino students may fare better academically in more diverse school contexts.
In low SES schools, the relation between same-ethnicity representation and the mean belonging score of Latino students in a school was negative in high tracking schools but positive in low tracking schools.
Finding suggests the interpretation that higher SES schools may fail to address the academic needs of Latino students in particular, as compared with students of other ethnic groups.
The findings illustrate that in school contexts where inequality among students is more likely, having a greater number of same-ethnicity peers is related to poorer social and academic outcomes among Latino students.
Results show that ethnic diversity moderated the slope of student SES in low tracking schools, whereas same-ethnicity representation moderated the slope of SES in high tracking schools.
Academic Achievement, Diversity, Ethnicity, Latinos, SES Composition, School Characteristics, Tracking
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
This study used secondary data from Waves 1, 2, and 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The subsample of students in this research was drawn from a nationally representative sample of 20,745 students who completed extensive, structured interviews at Wave 1 (1994-1995). Of this original sample, 14,738 students completed at-home interviews 1 year later, at Wave 2 (1996). Of the original Wave 1 respondents, 15,170 also completed interviews at Wave 3 (2001-2002) when all participants were expected to have graduated from high school. The subsample included in this study represented all students who responded affirmatively to the question “Are you of Latino/Hispanic origin” during the Wave 1 interview.
Socioeconomic status (SES)was estimated as a composite of parental education and household income.
Immigrant generation - Higher scores on this scale indicated that a greater number of generations were born in the U.S., where 0 = neither the student nor his/her parents were born in the U.S,
1 = Either the student or one of his/her parents were born in the U.S; and 2 = both the student and one of his/her parents were born in the U.S.
Home Language was coded as 0 = home languages other than English and 1 = English home language.
Family Composition- If the student’s parent reported being single, divorced, or widowed and the student reported living with only one parent, then he/she received a score of 1 on this variable. If the child had both caregivers present, his/her score was 0.
Family Attachment was measured through7 items that ask students about their relationship and communications with their mother (four items) and father (three items). Items were rated on 5-point Likert scales and averaged into a composite score, with higher scores indicating greater agreement.
Student Achievement was measured by asking students were asked to report their most recent letter-grades in English, Math, History, and Science. Letter-grades were coded numerically (A = 4, B = 3, C =2, and D and below = 1) and then averaged into an overall achievement score (α= .748) for each student.
School Socioeconomic Status was measured by the student SES variable was aggregated using student-level sampling weights to provide an estimate of school-level socioeconomic climate
Same-Ethnicity Representation of Latino students in each school was computed based on the proportion of all students reporting “Hispanic or Latino/a origin” during the Wave 1 At Home Interviews.
School ethnic diversity was computed based on the representation of multiple ethnic groups in a school. There are six ethnic categories included in Add Health; Hispanic or Latino, Black, White, Asian, Native American, and other. This measure took into account the size and number of ethnic groups in a school, such that schools with a greater number of ethnic groups and more equal group sizes were considered the most diverse; schools with few ethnic groups and uneven representation between them were considered least diverse.
School belonging was measured by a composite of seven items rated on 5-point Likert scales, with higher scores indicating greater agreement or frequency.
High school completion- a dichotomous variable indicating if the student completed high school by 2001.