Blau, Judith, Lamb, Vicky, Stearns, Elizabeth, & Pellerin, Lisa
Cosmopolitan Environments and Adolescents' Gains in Social Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Predict how neighborhood characteristics and measures of social problems affect gains on achievement tests between 10th and 12th grades.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Sociology of Education
Vol. 74, No. 2, pp.121-138
- Context matters little for mathematics, science and reading.
- Relatively open and fluid neighborhoods are conducive to social learning and do not adversely affect learning in math, science and reading.
- Large economic differences between whites and non whites impair the social learning of affluent presumably because adolescents have little contact with people who are different from them.
- There appear to be genuine catch-up effects among those with relatively low scores in the 10th grade who preserve rather than drop out.
- All students, regardless of their race, are likely to improve in social studies when they live in communities in which race and socioeconomic resources are not highly related.
- The higher the level of consolidation, the less improved do higher-SES students make in social studies.
- The last 2 years of high school is a period in which low achievers can make strong gains.
- The best environment for social learning is one in which there are no stark economic divisions between racial groups that fragment experiences for adolescents by creating artificial barriers for social contact and social relations.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Climate, Context, Diversity, Inequality, Math, Neighborhood, Racial Inequalities, Science, Social Studies
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Public Schools in 30 metropolitan areas
Unit of Analysis:
- Data from the student and school administrator surveys from the 1990 and 1992 metropolitan High school Effectiveness Study (HSES) and Census Data (US Bureau of the Census 1991) for school neighborhoods.
- Social studies question about history, geography, and citizenship.
- 146 schools and 2,435 students.
- Used school and student weights to be able to generalize to the 1990 10th graders who completed the 12th grade in the schools of these 30 metropolitan areas.
- DV: Difference score between the 12th and 10th grade in each assessment test for mathematics, science, reading, and social studies.
- IV: Individual variables (level on score on a mathematics-reading composite, sex, advantaged groups, socioeconomic status, family structure, locus of control, educational expectations, academic motivation), school and neighborhood variables (neighborhood diversity, consolidated inequality, school problems (includes % free/reduced lunch)).