From expectations to success : examining the relation of educational expectations to educational attainment for African American and white adolescents
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The primary purpose of this study is to assess the extent to which educational expectations contribute to educational attainment for different subgroups of youth using a model of educational attainment that draws from two theoretical frameworks – status attainment theory and the expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. This combined model of educational attainment posits that certain factors contribute to attainment, including SES, achievement, self-concept of ability, educational values, and educational expectations. A within-subject fixed-effects approach is used in all of the models tested to address issues of endogeneity. Empirical findings suggest that expectations may not influence attainment for African American youth and youth from low-SES families. In the present study, the relations of expectations for attending college to the amount of education attained are investigated for African American and White youth and for youth from high and low SES backgrounds. Although there is no evidence suggesting that expectations contribute to attainment differently for males and females, research suggests that the link between achievement and self-concept of ability may differ by gender. Overall, the data support the hypotheses that: a) educational expectations predict educational attainment for each subgroup assessed; and b) educational values and self-concept of ability are precursors of this relation. However, the association between achievement and self-concept of ability is not statistically different for males and females. The results of this study suggest that expectations are important for attainment irrespective of race, socio-economic status, and gender differences. Because such similarities have not previously been reported in the literature, this study makes a unique contribution and may serve as a guide for future investigation.