High School Preparation and Post-Secondary Educational Attainment: An Analysis of Racial/Ethnic and Gender Differences for Missouri Public High School Students

50 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2024

See all articles by Takako Nomi

Takako Nomi

Saint Louis University - College of Education and Public Service

Michael J. Podgursky

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics; Saint Louis University - Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research

Darrin DeChane

Saint Louis University - Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research

Date Written: March 14, 2024

Abstract

This paper investigates patterns of racial/ethnic and gender gaps in post-secondary degree attainment trajectories by the levels of students’ pre-college academic preparation. We follow four cohorts of Missouri public high school freshmen for five years beyond on-time graduation among White, Black, and Hispanic male and female students. A composite measure of pre-college academic preparation is constructed based on test scores, GPA, attendance, and advanced course enrollment, which we label Academic Index (AI) and split students into AI Quintiles for analysis. We find large racial/ethnic gaps in AI, with the largest difference for Black male students, who are heavily concentrated in the lowest quintile. Gender gaps in academic readiness widen during high school. College enrollment is higher for Black male and female students near the average AI and below, but this advantage completely disappears for degree completion. Hispanic-White gaps emerge earlier than that of Black-White gaps as Hispanic students are less likely to graduate from high school and attend college. An important finding is that top-performing Black and Hispanic male students have much lower rates of degree completion than other top-performing students. Also, Black-White gaps are much wider in any degree attainment than in bachelor’s degree attainment, suggesting lower likelihood of completing a sub-bachelor degree among Black students. After controlling for academic preparation and the FRL status, bachelor’s degree attainment among Black and Hispanic female students are similar to, or higher than, that of White female students.

Keywords: Racial/Ethnic and Gender Education Attainment Gaps, Post-Secondary Education

Suggested Citation

Nomi, Takako and Podgursky, Michael J. and DeChane, Darrin, High School Preparation and Post-Secondary Educational Attainment: An Analysis of Racial/Ethnic and Gender Differences for Missouri Public High School Students (March 14, 2024). Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research Working Paper No. 24-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4759474 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4759474

Takako Nomi (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - College of Education and Public Service ( email )

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St. Louis, MO 63103
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Michael J. Podgursky

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics ( email )

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Columbia, MO 65211
United States

Saint Louis University - Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research ( email )

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St. Louis, MO 63103
United States

Darrin DeChane

Saint Louis University - Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research ( email )

3700 West Pine Mall Blvd. Fusz Hall, 358
St. Louis, MO 63103
United States

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