Caldas, Stephen J., & Bankston III, Carl
Effect of School Population Socioeconomic Status on Individual Academic Achievement
Manhattanville University; Tulane University
Relationship between the socioeconomic status (SES) of peers and individual academic achievement.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 90, No. 5, pp. 269-277
- There is a tendency for students to be in schools with peers who are of similar family SES backgrounds.
- If one is at the poverty level, academic achievement tends to suffer slightly regardless of race.
- Family social status had a strong influence on academic achievement after race.
- Controlling for the effects of a student's own race is not enough to get a true picture of the relationship between poverty and academic achievement. We must control for the effects of the racial composition of the school.
- Apart from its connection with race, peer poverty per se does not explain achievement in Louisiana schools.
- Positive effect of family social status of schoolmates on achievement increased substantially once school racial composition was controlled.
- The effect of schoolmates' family social status on achievement is significant and substantial, and only slightly smaller than an individual's own family background status.
- Going to school with classmates from relatively high family social status backgrounds does make a strong and significant contribution to academic achievement, independent of one's own family SES or race.
- The negative influence of attending school with poor students per se is essentially the result of going to school with classmates who bring the disadvantages associated with minority race to the school environment.
- If school performance is a product of the peer environment reacting to the social resources that classmates bring to school, then the relative advantages or disadvantages of diversity may depend on a student's position on the socioeconomic food chain.
- Peer family social status in particular does have a significant and substantive independent effect on individual academic achievement, only slightly less than an individual's own family social status.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, English, Math, Peer Effects, Social Capital
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Public High School students in Louisiana
Unit of Analysis:
- Louisiana Graduation Exit Examination
- Examination first administered to 10th graders in April, 1989
- DV: Student achievement on the GEE (principal component analysis on the raw mathematics, language arts and written composition scores).
- IV: Family Poverty Status, Family Social Status, School-Level Measures of SES (peer family poverty, peer family social status), Individual-level Control Variables (race, student's interests and activity, organized activity hours, etc), School-Level Control Variable (percentage of student population that was African American).