Goldsmith, Pat Antonio
Schools' Racial Mix, Students' Optimism, and the Black-White and Latino-White Achievement Gaps
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
How schools' racial and ethnic mix of students and teachers influences black, white, and Latino students' expectations, aspirations and attitudes.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Sociology of Education
Vol. 77, No. 2, pp. 121-147
- Latinos' and Blacks' are more optimistic and more pro-school in segregated-minority schools, especially when these schools also employ many minority teachers.
- Positive effects of segregated-minority schools on Blacks' and Latinos' belief reduce the Black-White and Latino-White gaps in achievement.
- Results suggest that Whites, Blacks, and Latinos all benefit (their test scores) from having higher beliefs, regardless of the type of schools.
- Blacks' and Latinos' relatively high beliefs consistently shrink the black-white and Latino-white gaps in scores on math a nd reading tests.
- All else being equal, Blacks and Latinos are more apt to have high beliefs than are Whites, regardless of gender.
- Model shows larger White-Black differences in educational aspirations between females than between males.
- Models show that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to have high beliefs than are similar Whites in separate-White schools and that Blacks' and Latinos' odds of having high beliefs are often greater in mixed schools and always greater in separate-minority schools than in separate-white schools.
- Whites' beliefs are largely independent of school type, while Blacks' and Latinos' beliefs tend to be relatively optimistic and pro-school in segregated-minority schools that employ many minority teachers.
- It appears that high beliefs are less effective for Black and Latinos than they are for Whites in separate-White schools, but high beliefs usually have positive effects on all the different groups of students.
- Relative to Whites in separate-White schools, Blacks and Latinos attending separate-White schools benefit the east from differences in beliefs and that Blacks and Latinos in separate-minority schools benefit the most.
- Eight grade Black and Latino students are more likely than are similar White students to have high occupational expectations, educational aspirations, and concrete attitudes.
- Blacks and Latinos are more likely to have high beliefs in mixed schools and especially in separate minority schools than in separate-white schools.
- Blacks and Latinos in segregated-minority schools, especially those with many minority teachers, tend to have great optimism about their future education and desired occupations and tend to profess positive attitudes about their teachers and classes.
- Blacks' and Latinos' relatively higher beliefs make up for their lower slopes, and the net result is the racial and ethnic differences in beliefs reduce the Black-White and Latino-White achievement gaps. This reduction is the smallest among Blacks and Latinos who attend separate-White schools and the largest among Blacks and Latinos who attend separate-minority schools.
- Net of a large number of contextual and familial differences, Blacks and Latinos in mixed and especially in separate-minority schools are more likely than are Blacks and Latinos in separate-White schools to have high beliefs.
- Segregated White schools need to enact measures to reduce their armful effects on Blacks' and Latinos' beliefs.
- The racial and ethnic differences in achievement among students mirror the racial and ethnic differences among schools. Black and Latino students achieve less than do Whites just as achievement at predominately Black and Latino schools is less than that at predominately White schools. But Black and Latinos have an advantage over Whites: more optimism and more pro-school attitudes.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Achievement Gap, Hispanics, Latinos, Math, Racial Composition, Science
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Eight graders in public and private schools
Unit of Analysis:
- Data comes from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) on students' beliefs and schools' racial ethnic composition.
- Use the base year 1988. A sample of 24,599 eight graders in 1,052 public and private schools.
- It contains data collected from students, parents, teachers, and school principals.
- Schools' percentages of students and teachers by racial-ethnic background.
- The sample included all students who self-reported themselves as Hispanic, black or white.
- Regression #1
- DV: Five different beliefs were measured: high occupational expectations, high educational aspirations, high concrete attitudes on teachers or the teaching in their school, their math and science classes and their English and history classes.
- IV: previous achievement, generation, race, schools' racial and ethnic mix of students and teachers (percentage of students in each of five racial-ethnic categories, the number of full-time teachers, and the number of full-time teachers in each of five racial-ethnic categories), families SES, size, mother and father present.
- Regression # 2
- DV: Test scores on the math and reading tests.
- IV: expects professional or managerial job, aspires to school beyond college, attitude toward teaching, attitude toward classes, interactions race-ethnicity and school type (whites by school type, latinos by school type, blacks by school type), race-ehtnicity, gender, school type, school and negihborhood context, family SES and structure, previous achievement, generation/nativity, other. Control variables: residential-neighborhood poverty rate, mean student SES, proportion of students in single-parent families, and whether the school is private.