College Choice of Latino High School Students: Influence of Demographics, Academic Preparation, and Academic Self-efficacy Beliefs on Intended Level of Post-secondary Institution

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Title: College Choice of Latino High School Students: Influence of Demographics, Academic Preparation, and Academic Self-efficacy Beliefs on Intended Level of Post-secondary Institution
Author: Gonzalez, Laura McLaughlin
Advisors: Thomas E.H. Conway, Jr., Committee Member
Jose A. Picart, Committee Member
Stanley B. Baker, Committee Co-Chair
Siu-Man R. Ting, Committee Co-Chair
Abstract: National data has shown that Latino students entering college have selected two-year institutions at a greater rate than any other group. Some reasons for this tendency have been suggested (e.g., financial or academic difficulties), but they have not explained the phenomenon satisfactorily. The current study addressed this issue with logistic regression analysis, utilizing data from the National Center for Education Statistics. The outcome variable was level of college intended by Latino and White high school students in their senior spring. Predictor variables were related to demographic factors, academic preparation factors, and academic self-efficacy beliefs (the primary focus of exploration). Several main effects predictors were significant for all students (e.g, percent of free and reduced lunches at the high school, highest level of high school math, student expectations for future education). Only one predictor was significant (p<.05) when interacting with race⁄ethnicity — student expectations for future education, one of the academic self-efficacy variables. An alternate evaluation of interaction terms (using a cross derivative) found some areas of significance for the interaction effects of race⁄ethnicity with teacher expectations and math and reading test scores, in addition to student expectations. For Latino students, all three of these interactions had a negative effect (as compared to Whites) on the predicted probability of selecting a four-year college. Socioeconomic status was held constant in the analysis of interaction terms, so the Latino students were similar in economic terms to the White students. However, even with high aspirations, high expectations from teachers, and good math and reading test scores, Latinos had a lower predicted probability of the reference outcome. Therefore, that subgroup of Latinos could have been choosing two-year colleges for other reasons, such as family ties, social networks, or other dynamics common to collectivistic cultures. Findings are discussed in terms of Bandura's social cognitive theory. Academic self-efficacy and social influences are promising areas for future research.
Date: 2008-03-03
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Counselor Education
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/3090


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