07 SES 12 A, Migrant Students' Educational Expectations
Students in secondary education already have some expectations regarding their postsecondary life. Do they have the ambition to attend higher education, or are they expecting to enter the labor market immediately after secondary education? In the traditional Status Attainment Model (SAM) of Sewell and colleagues in the 1960s, students’ expectations were included as the center of the model (Sewell et al., 2003). In this model, expectations are influenced by individual level determinants – like SES and ability – via significant others, such as peers, teachers, and parents. In their turn, expectations affect educational and occupational attainment in later life. Five decades later, students’ expectations have become a well-established student outcome, as they help to explain the relation between status of origin and status of destination, and are thus useful for studying social mobility and reproduction between sociodemographic groups (Mello, 2009). Gender, ethnicity, and social background are proven to be important stratifiers (e.g., Andres et al., 1999; Mickelson, 1990). As student' expectations is an indicator of perceived opportunities (Kurleander and Yun, 2001), insights into the determinants of expectations is vital. However, research into the determinants of students’ expectations is mainly focused on individual effects (Frost, 2007). Recently, some interest has arisen into the effects of educational systems on expectations, via comparative research (e.g., Buchmann & Park, 2009). The level in between – i.e. the school level – is a lot less under consideration. Nevertheless, expectations are formed during secondary education, and an influence of school characteristics on expectations, as is the case on other students’ outcomes, may be expected from the School Effects Research (SER) tradition. Next to the influence of socio-economic composition, another influencing variable of interest in this multiethnic society is the ethnic school composition, and some research has shown the influence of both these school characteristic already (e.g., Yun & Kurleander, 2004). However, explanations – that often focus on students’ cultures – are often only theoretically supposed and not empirically tested (exceptions: Van Houtte & Stevens, 2009; Frost, 2007), as is often the case within SER.
This research investigates the influence of school socio-economic and ethnic composition on expectations to attend higher education, and is innovative in exploring the mediating role of teachers’ culture. This paper is unique in that it envisages to integrate SER in the SAM to understand better the formation of students’ expectations for higher education. We will adopt the idea of teachers as important significant others from SAM, and draw on insights of SER on school composition effects and processes like culture. The role of teachers in the formation of expectations is established in the classical SAM as one of the actors of ‘the significant others’, but this contribution goes a step further and transcends the focus on the individual level present in status attainment research by looking at the shared beliefs of teachers at the school level. Specifically, we will examine if teacher cultures help to explain a possible effect of school composition. We expect that teachers share lower expectations of their students in disadvantaged schools, and these lower teacher expectations lead students to opt for less ambitious post-secondary pathways.
Data from the International Study of City Youth (ISCY) is used, a cross-national longitudinal study following 10th grade students in 15 cities around the world (see www.iscy.org). For this study, we will focus on the data of the city of Ghent (Flanders, Belgium), from 2.354 pupils of the tenth grade and 502 teachers across 30 secondary schools, gathered during the 2013-2014 school year. Flanders is characterized by a strong socio-ethnic segregation in primary and secondary schools (Mahieu, 2002). Stepwise multilevel analyses were performed on this data. Teachers’ culture of expectations is operationalized by the schools’ teachability culture (e.g., Demanet & Van Houtte, 2012).
Results of these stepwise multilevel analyses suggest that the ethnic composition has a negative effect on the expectations to attend higher education for both native and immigrant students, but this effect is explained by socio-economic composition. This effect of socio-economic composition can be explained by the teachability culture among teachers of the same school. The findings are discussed in light of socio-ethnic inequality.
Andres, L., Anisef, P., Krahn, H., Looker, D., & Thiessen, V. (1999). The persistence of social structure: Cohort, class and gender effects on the occupational aspirations and expectations of Canadian youth. Journal of Youth Studies, 2(3), 261-282. doi:10.1080/13676261.1999.10593042. Buchmann, C., & Park, H. (2009). Stratification and the formation of expectations in highly differentiated educational systems. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 27(4), 245-267. doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2009.10.003. Demanet, J., & Van Houtte, M. (2012). Teachers' attitudes and students' opposition. School misconduct as a reaction to teachers' diminished effort and affect. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(6), 860e869. doi: 10.1016/ j.tate.2012.03.008. Frost, M. (2007). Texas Students' College Expectations: Does High School Racial Composition Matter? Sociology of Education, 80(1), 43-65. Kurlaender, M., & Yun, J.T. (2001) Is Diversity a Compelling Educational Interest? Evidence from Louisville. (pp. 111-141) In G. Orfield (Ed) Diversity Challenged: Evidence on the impact of affirmative action,. (Ed.). Cambridge: Harvard Education Publishing Group. Mahieu, P. (2002). Desegregatie in functie van Integratie [Desegregation in function of Integration]. 205-232. in: C. Timmerman, P. Hermans, J. Hoornaert (eds) Allochtone Jongeren in Het Onderwijs: Een Multidisciplinair Perspectief. Mello, Z. R. (2009). Racial/ethnic group and socioeconomic status variation in educational and occupational expectations from adolescence to adulthood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(4): 494-504. Mickelson, R. (1990). The Attitude-Achievement Paradox Among Black Adolescents. Sociology of Education, 63(1), 44-61. doi:10.2307/2112896. Sewell, W. H., et al. (2003). As we age: A review of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, 1957–2001. Research in social stratification and mobility, 20, 3-111. Van Houtte, M., & Stevens, P. A. J. (2010b). School ethnic composition and aspirations of immigrant students in Belgium. British Educational Research Journal, 36(2), 209-237. Yun, J.T. & Kurlaender, M. (2004). School Racial Composition and Student Educational Aspirations: A Question of Equity in a Multiracial Society. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 9(2): 143-168.
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