A PATH ANALYTIC INVESTIGATION OF ADOLESCENT EDUCATIONAL ASPIRATIONS AND ATTAINMENT: WHITES VERSUS HISPANICS

JOHN P BALISTRERI, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated a social-psychological explanation of the process of adolescent development, regarding the formation of educational aspirations and educational attainment. The causal model evaluated included socioeconomic status and mental ability as exogenous variables; locus of control, self-concept of ability, friend's aspirations, and parental expectations as intervening variables; and educational aspirations and educational attainment as endogenous variables.^ The White and Hispanic male samples were drawn from high school seniors who participated in a survey study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 1980. Samples were subdivided to include all subjects regardless of race, White subjects, or Hispanic subjects. Ten samples ranged in size from 103 to 2256.^ Variables were measured using available survey data from the NCES survey. Three variations of the basic causal model were employed on the basis of whether parental expectations were measured by perceptual accounts, self-reports, or both.^ One of the 10 path analyses performed explained approximately 65% of the variance in educational aspirations and 40% of the variance in educational attainment, giving strong general support to the proposed causal model for this study and to the basic framework of the original Wisconsin model of educational attainment.^ Clear differences in the pattern of direct effects were found when comparing White and Hispanic samples. Results indicate that Hispanics are more strongly influenced than Whites by subjective factors, such as self-concept of ability and perceived parental expectations. Findings also suggest that friend's aspirations are more important for Hispanics than for Whites. Whites, meanwhile, appear to be more affected than Hispanics by objective factors, such as academic performance and self-reported parental expectations.^ The matching of White and Hispanic subjects on socioeconomic status indicated that socioeconomic status could not expain the differences found between these two populations. The results point to the need for further investigation into the sources of differences found between Whites and Hispanics. In addition, the results point to the value of refining and replicating the proposed causal model, particularly for further investigations of Hispanic populations. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

BALISTRERI, JOHN P, "A PATH ANALYTIC INVESTIGATION OF ADOLESCENT EDUCATIONAL ASPIRATIONS AND ATTAINMENT: WHITES VERSUS HISPANICS" (1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8715792.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8715792

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