Development of the attributions for scholastic outcomes scale--Latino (ASO-L)
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This study supports the development of the Attributions for Scholastic Outcomes Scale--Latino (ASO-L). Previous research has shown that people believe that it is important to close the achievement gaps that exist between racial/ethnic minorities and Whites (Rose & Gallup, 2004). Despite the fact that the general public has taken an interest in this area, there are currently no instruments for measuring how people reason about these issues. Consequently, there is little knowledge as to why people continue to support policies that have been unsuccessful in bringing racial/ethnic minority academic performance up to the level of Whites. This study takes steps in that direction by providing educators and school reform advocates with a useful instrument for understanding how people reason about the causes for the Latino-White achievement gap. The ASO-L measures the extent to which people believe in two different explanations for the Latino-White achievement gap. I have termed the explanation that I believe is most pervasive in US society "culture-blaming." It is consistent with the dominant racial story about Latino underachievement, which focuses primarily on the presumed limitations of Latino families and Latino culture. I refer to what I believe to be the second most common explanation as "structure-blaming." It challenges the dominant racial story because it places blame on schools and the schooling system rather than the limitations of Latinos. Confirmatory factor analyses provide evidence for the factorial validity of the ASO-L. In addition, structural equation modeling performed on sample data indicates that the two primary explanations--culture-blaming and structure-blaming--are meaningfully related to attitudes towards resource redistribution, English-only initiatives, parent education, and standardized testing above and beyond what can be accounted for by measures of attributional complexity (G. Fletcher, Danilovics, Fernandez, Peterson, & Reeder, 1986) and political orientation (Kerlinger, 1984). Finally, a comparison of latent means revealed that Latinos are more likely than Whites to endorse structure-blaming attributions, but no less likely to endorse culture-blaming attributions. Recommendations for further research and academic activism are included.