Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Academic Success among Poor and Minority Students

Borman, G. & Rachuba L., (2001), “Academic Success Among Poor and Minority Students: An Analysis of Competing Models of School Effects”, John Hopkins University, Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk,

Summary: This research studies and focuses on the success of traditionally “at-risk minority students, but rather than focus on the causes of lack of achievement within schools, it focuses on the idea of “academic resiliency” that is, what factors do students come to school with, and are found in school that contribute to low socioeconomic and minority students academic success. This study compares resiliency among African-American, Hispanic and White students of similar demographic backgrounds. It also looks at four separate school structures; 1) the effective school model, 2) the peer-composition model, 3) the school resources model, and 4) the supportive school community model. Within each of these models, the researchers look for students who have achieved academic success and discuss what aspects are in place at the various schools to assist with a student’s success. They want to understand how schools can affect a student’s academic resiliency.
Data and sample methods were collected a variety of ways. Researchers collected data from 40,000 elementary school students in grades 1, 3 and 7. The gathered data from standardized test scores, questionnaires administered to students, parents, teachers, and school administrators. From this data, the final research groups consisted of 925 students from 146 schools over the four year period of the study. Many variables were considered in the research finding ranging from socioeconomic status, class size, and instructional resources to student disposition.
School variables focused on four characteristics generated from the questionnaires; learning time, minority student progress, clear school wide goals, and strong principal leadership. The more supportive a school’s environment, the stronger the student’s academic resiliency was. Safe school environment and positive student-teacher relationships were two most influential factors.
Findings were mixed. For African American students, effective schools and a student’s internal locus of control were important for school success. Regardless of race though, student engagement and active participation seem to contribute to academic success. School effectiveness and academic success came mostly from schools who seemed to protect students from adversity and those who have strong teacher student relationships.

This research article was very well written and the hypothesis, even though inconclusive in some areas, very well supported from a variety of research, data, questionnaires and other’s research. I found this useful to help support ideas for my own research in the area of student disposition and creating a safe environment.

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