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Urban Youth: Their School, Community and Perceived Education Sara Adan New York University.

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Presentation on theme: "Urban Youth: Their School, Community and Perceived Education Sara Adan New York University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Urban Youth: Their School, Community and Perceived Education Sara Adan New York University

2 Acknowledgements Dr. LaRue Allen Dr. Jennifer Astuto Other Members of the Child & Family Policy Center, in particular Jackie Cahalan.

3 Educational Expectations & Attainment There is an alarming disparity between high school students educational expectations and their actual attainment, in particular for inner city youth. This discrepancy is even more salient for ethnic minorities (i.e., Latino and African American) and for boys, who generally have high expectations but low achievement (e.g., Goldsmith, 2004). However, SES seems to play a role in actual achievement, such that ethnic minority youth from higher SES backgrounds have both high expectations and achievement (e.g., Kao & Tienda, 1998). School and community climate have been proposed as potential mediating factors influencing expectations and attainment (e.g. Esposito, 1999).

4 School & Community Climate A positive school climate can influence students self-efficacy, motivation in the schoolroom, and overall achievement, especially for boys and students from lower SES neighborhoods. Similarly, a positive community climate is linked to increased school achievement and educational expectations. The presence of professionals and managerial workers in the community has been linked to greater achievement. Communities where neighbors share high values and supervision of children are related to higher educational attainment. However, the research available is limited in various ways: There is a lack of consensus in the definition of school climate and few studies have taken into account the youths perceptions of school or community climate. Likewise, most of the research has examined the effects of school or community climate on educational achievement and attainment. There is limited research on the relation between school climate and educational expectations.

5 Research Questions & Hypotheses The present study addressed this gap in the current research. Two main questions guided the study: 1. Does urban high school students perceived school climate predict their perceived educational attainment? 1. Does perceived community climate act as a mediator between school climate and educational attainment? It is hypothesized that perceived school climate will predict educational attainment and that students who have a positive view of their school climate will have greater educational aspirations. Additionally, community climate will act as a mediator such that students who have a positive perception of their community will also have a positive perception of their school and ultimately have greater educational expectations.

6 Participants (N = 86) Urban high school students from a parochial school in New York City. 51.1% were males; 48.9% were females. Approximately 49% were seniors, 21% juniors, 20% sophomores, and 10% freshmen. Ethnic composition was diverse.

7 Measures & Procedures The Civic Engagement measure was psychometrically adapted for urban youth. It examines how engaged students are in their school and community by investigating their opinions on various topics: Role of government in society Their political ideation Their volunteer practices The current study focused on two subscales of the Civic Engagement measure: The school climate subscale (α =.78) and community climate (α =.89) subscale. Sample Questions: Teachers listen to students ideas. In my community, most people try to make this a good place to live. In my school, everyone seems to care about each other, even people they dont know. Answers were on a 5-point likert scale, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

8 Data Analyses Descriptives were run on demographics. Ethnicity was collapsed for analyses: The perceived educational attainment variable was transformed. Regressions were performed to see how the demographic, predictor and mediator variables affected the outcome variable. Correlations were conducted to investigate if perceived school climate and educational attainment were related. Investigating mediation was not required.

9 Transformation The outcome variable, perceived educational career, was skewed (-7.16) and failed to reach kurtosis (5.18). Therefore, reflective inverse transformation was conducted. Before After

10 Perceived Educational Attainment Entire Sample

11 Perceived Educational Attainment By Gender

12 Perceived Educational Career By Ethnicity

13 Perceived Education & School Climate The correlation between perceived school climate and educational attainment was insignificant, r = School and community climate were positively correlated, r =.375, p <.001. Regression model included gender, grade level, parents level of education, ethnicity 1, school climate and community climate. For parents level of education, only participants who knew the answer were included in the model. The Black ethnic group was excluded in the model, since the dummy code already accounts for it. The regression model was found to be insignificant F =.681, p = Note: Dummy codes were created for ethnicity.

14 Summary of Results Even with the transformation, the regression model was still found to be insignificant, F =.953, p =.493. The lack of significance might have been a result of the small sample size in relation to the number of predictor variables in the model, thereby reducing the power (i.e., n = 52 for the regression model) A one-way ANOVA was run to ascertain if there were any differences between ethnicities in how they responded to the outcome variable. No significant differences were found, F = 1.503, p = Ethnicity was, thus, removed from the regression model. 77 participants were now included in the model. However, the model was insignificant F=.993, p =.429 Due to the significant findings, testing for mediation was not required.

15 Discussion and Conclusions It was hypothesized that a significant and positive relation between perceived educational attainment and school climate was to be found. Results did not support this hypothesis. Little variation across ethnicities on perceived educational attainment might be a result of the sense of school community created by shared values and goals stemming from common religious affiliation and experience. Findings seem to corroborate conclusions from previous literature noting the importance of religious communities and activities for students educational aspirations and academic achievement (e.g., Regnerus, 2000). Future research should be conducted with a more diverse sample (e.g., public schools) to ascertain whether the findings from the present study are particular to parochial schools.


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