School Performance, Student Ethnic Composition, and Socioeconomic Factors: A Comparison of Four Ethnic Groups
Posted: 22 Feb 2011
The article examines whether or not and how student ethnic composition relates to the learning achievement in public schools in the state of California, giving special attention to parental education and socioeconomic factors. To this end, school-level data were taken from over 1,200 public schools in California, and student ethnic composition was calculated for each sample school. The analysis shows that white student academic achievement originates in their economic wealth as well as high levels of parental education, yet Asian academic success primarily derives from parental achievement in education while having little to do with socioeconomic wealth. Equally significant are the findings showing that economic poverty is most prominently associated with the low academic performance of African-American student, while Hispanic low test scores are evenly organized around the low levels of parental education and English proficiency apart from economic poverty. This finding suggests that student ethnic composition influences the overall academic performance of public schools, but the socio-economic mechanism by which student ethnic composition affects school test scores may distinctively vary across four ethnic groups.
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