Grades and Perceptions of High School Climate: The Role of Race and Ethnicity
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractRacial disparities in educational achievement have been a persistent phenomenon in the United States. This inequity has been described as educational "opportunity gaps", "education debts", and "achievement gaps". Education debt refers to the year after year amassed racial and ethnic achievement gaps that result in a debt for most minoritized groups in comparison to White and Asian students. Despite the repeated significance of focusing on education inequalities concerning race and ethnicity, there is a paucity of research that examines the interrelatedness of school climate and academic achievement specifically with respect to racial and ethnic differences. The ecology of human development framework provides a complex lens to better understand the students' experiences in the environment of the school. For this quantitative, correlational, cross-sectional study descriptive statistics and structural equation modeling (SEM) were applied to answer the research questions about the extent that high school students' perceptions of school climate predicted their self-reported grades, whether they differed as a function of students' race and ethnicity, and whether the magnitude between race/ethnicity groups was substantial. Overall, evidence was found for the unceasing and persisting education debt for minoritized groups regarding their grades, but also in connection to the influence of school aspects on their academic achievement. For Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students the results indicated an intensification of the education debt through the considerably lower impact of school climate characteristics on grades than for White and Asian. For Mixed, Latin@, and Other the debt appeared to be unchanging due to similarly small impacts as for White and Asian, yet, not lessening due to their lower grades.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Educational Leadership & Policy