The role of cultural discontinuity in the academic outcomes of racially and ethnically diverse high school students

Date

2011

Authors

Taggart, Amanda S.

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Abstract

This study examined the impact of cultural discontinuity on the academic outcomes of racially and ethnically diverse high school students. Hierarchical multiple regression was utilized to: (1) investigate the significant differences between the characteristics and academic outcomes of high school students who do and do not experience cultural discontinuity between their home- and school-based learning and social experiences based on Eurocentric and Latina/o cultural values, and (2) examine the contribution of demographic variables, socio-cultural variables, academic experiences, and cultural discontinuity to students' cumulative GPA and standardized test scores in mathematics. Data were collected from an urban high school in South Central Texas. Findings revealed that among racial/ethnic groups, Latina/o students made up the greatest percentage of students who experienced higher levels of cultural discontinuity between home and school based on Eurocentric cultural values. Conversely, they made up the smallest percentage of students who experienced higher levels of cultural discontinuity between home and school based on Latina/o cultural values. Furthermore, results showed that whether or not a student belonged to a racial/ethnic minority group, a student's expected level of educational attainment, the number of AP classes in which a student was enrolled, and cultural discontinuity based on Eurocentric cultural values significantly contributed to GPA. Cultural discontinuity based on Eurocentric cultural values had an inverse relationship with GPA; therefore, the more cultural discontinuity based on Eurocentric cultural values that a student experienced, the lower was the student's GPA.

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Keywords

academic achievement, cultural discontinuity, cultural values, high school, Latino, race

Citation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies