An Exploratory Study Of Aspirational Factors Associated With Postsecondary Academic Achievement In Urban Lowsocioeconomic Status African American And Hispanic Males
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ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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Despite the underrepresentation of urban, low socioeconomic status African American and Hispanic males in postsecondary education nationwide, few studies have systematically studied those who have overcome the odds and attained a bachelor¡¯s degree or more. The near absence of research in this area has rendered it more difficult for social workers, educators and other social scientists to develop practice strategies and policies to address the underrepresentation of this group in postsecondary education as well as help address a host of significant social problems they are likely to experience. Using Bertalanffys¡¯ general systems theory (GST) as a conceptual foundation, this study explored the relationship between: (a) socioeconomic status (SES), (b) race/ethnicity, (c) student aspirations, (d) perceived parent aspirations, and (e) perceived peer aspirations and postsecondary academic achievement on a subsample of urban, low socioeconomic status African American and Hispanic male eighth grade students. The subsample of urban, low socioeconomic status African American and Hispanic males for this study was drawn from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS: 88/00) which surveyed 24,599 male and female student participants in the base year. The findings related to degree completion indicated that there was a statistically significant association between socioeconomic status (p<.05), race (p<.05), student aspirations (p¡Ü.05), perceived parental aspirations (p<.05), perceived peer aspirations (p<.05) and later academic achievement. The logistic regression findings suggested that the predictor variables of SES, race/ethnicity, and student aspirations could correctly predict the category of outcome of later academic achievement. The study supports the need for further research to develop evidence based practice strategies and policies that place more emphasis on increasing the aspirations of urban, low socioeconomic status, African American and Hispanic males as a strategy to increase degree completion rates from high school and postsecondary education and assist in navigating around significant social problems.