Strayhorn, Terrell L.
The Role of Schools, Families, and Psychological Variables on Math Achievement of Black High School Students.
The Ohio State University
What is the impact of school-, family-, and person-level affective or social psychological variables on math achievement for a nationally representative sample of Black high school students?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The High School Journal
Vol.93, No. 4, Pp. 177-194
Results suggest that: (a) Black students whose teachers praise them for their effort earn higher math achievement scores, (b) Black students whose teachers recommend “work not school” earn lower math achievement scores, (c) Black students who spend more time on homework earn higher math achievement scores, and (d) Black students who attend high schools largely concentrated by those who receive “free or reduced lunch”(i.e., over 75% of school receives free/reduced lunch) earn lower math achievement scores, on average.
Results indicates that Black women, first-generation college students, those who scored lower on the 8th grade math exam, and those with an external locus of control tended to perform less well on the math achievement exam in 10th grade compared to Black men, continuing generation students,8thgrade achievers, and those with an internal locus of control.
Black high school students whose parents are college-educated fare better in terms of math achievement than their counter-parts with non-college educated parents, similar to results presented earlier.
Having a more internal locus of control was associated with high levels of math achievement.
Black high school students whose parents attended school meetings earned higher math achievement scores than their peers whose parents did not attend school meetings.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Math, SES Composition, School Characteristics, Teacher Quality
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Black High School Students
Unit of Analysis:
Data for this study were drawn from the National Center for Education Statistics’ National Education Longitudinal Study:1988/2000(NELS:88/00) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The NELS:88/00 database employed a two-stage stratified probability design to obtain a nationally representative sample of eighth-grade schools and students.
The dependent variable, in this study, was math achievement as measured by one’s standardized score on a math exam that was administered at grade 10. Tests were constructed by the Educational Testing Service, based on consensus and input from subject matter experts. Scores ranged from 0 to 100.
Independent variables include gender, parents level of education, locus of control, self-view inventory, attitudes towards math, parental involvement, attitudes and perceptions of math teachers, school urbanicity and school percent receiving free or reduced lunch.
The researcher derived respondents’ locus of control from 6 items, based on a similar approach used in previous research. Using principal components factor analysis with varimax rotation, I found that all items loaded on a single factor, which accounted for 69% of the inter-item variance. The researcher calculated a composite variable by summing a respondent’s scores on the component items. This procedure is consistent with suggestions offered by psychometricians (Armor, 1974). An example of this scale is, “Chance and luck are important in my life.” Higher scores indicate a more internal locus of control.
Self-view Inventory, measured respondents’ self-esteem (alpha50.78); the researcher derived self-esteem using the same procedure as described above. An example of this scale is, “I feel that I do not have much to be proud of. “Higher scores indicate higher levels of self-esteem.
To measure parental involvement the researcher used 8 dichotomously-coded items to assess parental involvement.
To measure the students’ attitudes and perceptions of their math teachers (5 items). Response options ranged from 1 (“strongly agree”) to 4(“strongly disagree”)
For the purposes of this analysis, the researcher created dichotomous variables indicating urban and rural; suburban was the omitted reference category. Another item measured the percent of students at one’s high school who qualify for free or reduced lunch; scores ranged from 0 (“none”) to7(“76–100%”)
This study utilizes the Ecological Systems Theory.