The Stratification of High School Learning Opportunities
University of Wisconsin- Madison
Differences between and within schools in the allocation of opportunities for learning.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Sociology of Education
Vol. 60, No. 3, pp. 135-155
- Student characteristics are strongly related to achievement.
- Stratification of schools and schooling contributes to the association between student socioeconomic status and achievement.
- Suggests that the effects of individual SES may be artificially magnified when relevant contextual conditions are neglected.
- Weak and inconsistent effects of opportunities at school level.
- Effects of within-school differences in learning opportunities on achievement are substantial in all six subjects.
- The academic-track advantage is largest in math achievement.
- Apparently, students who enter the academic track after their sophomore year can close the coursework gap with students who had been there all along. But they do not catch up entirely.
- Few school-level conditions that contribute to achievement.
- Most of the significant within-school differences are tied to differential course taking.
- Tracking and coursetracking together account for substantively significant differences in student achievement.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Curriculum, Dropouts, High School, Math, Outcomes, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Tracking, Vocabulary
Secondary Data, Survey
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- High School and Beyond (HSB) data, collected by the National Center for Education Statistics
- First wave in 1980, data were collected from sophomores and seniors.
- 1982 follow-up
- Sample is limited to about 20,000 public school students who where surveyed in both waves and whose schools file out questionnaires.
- DV: Six achievement tests in 1980 and 1982 , in mathematics, science, vocabulary, reading, writing, and civics.
- IV: SES estimated by a composite measure of father's education, mother's education, family income, and home artifacts. Sex, race, and ethnicity, aspects of schools' surroundings, track position, students answer about their curricular program, etc.