Low SES and Achievement- Revised essay

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Congruence of Mother and Teacher Educational Expectations and Low-Income Youth's Academic Competence

By: Aprile D. Benner and Rashmita S. Mistry

The authors of this article want to examine the independent effects of teacher and mother expectations on the youth achievement outcomes, the relationship between adult expectation and child performance, and whether identical or different adult expectations impacts on youth performance. Specifically, the study, which examined over 745 families, showed that mother and teacher expectations had a direct effect on a student's educational expectations, competency beliefs and academic outcomes. Particularly noticeable was the impact that mother expectations had on a youth's educational expectations. The study also concluded that a congruence between adult expectations, with the mother and teacher, had an even more pronounced effect on student expectations and achievement. Finally, the study found that teacher expectations were consistently lowered when mother/parent expectations were also low.

This study used a comparatively higher number of subjects (over 700 initially) than the other studies. This study also used an extensive follow-up period of 5 years and was exceptionally researched and documented. The authors have thoroughly advanced the previous body of research in the area of adult expectations of youth academic success. Not only do they focus on predictors of success as opposed to antecedents to failures, the authors examine the various effects of congruent verse dissonant effects on the low income students. The findings are significant for the study of reducing the achievement gap among urban students, especially with respect to adult expectations on not only perception, but also actual performance and that adult expectations can have a conjoined effect, as well as an independent effect. The study does not address the impact of only father expectations, but suggests future research in the area of conjoined expectations of mother and father expectations on African-American urban students.

The Impact of Timing of Exposure to Violence on Violent Behavior

in a High Poverty Sample of Inner City African-American Youth

By: Richard Spano, Craig Rivera and John Bolland

The purpose of this study is the assess the effect of exposure to violence on violent behavior of African-American youth living in twelve high poverty neighborhoods in Mobile, Alabama. This study looks to build on the growing body of research which has linked exposure to violence to violent behavior by seeking to determine whether exposure to violence has a long-term or short-term impact on violent behavior. The study found that while older subjects were more likely to engage in violent behavior after exposure to violence, there is no significant correlation between sex and violence after exposure to violence. The results indicated that even low levels of exposure to violence had a large impact on short violent behavior of African-American youths living in high poverty neighborhoods. The study suggested additional research to examine the long-term effects of exposure to violence.

This article is not directly targeted towards closing the achievement gap, though it still provides useful information. The study highlights one particular barrier to academic achievement that is more endemic in low SES areas: Violence among school children. The authors' research method included a multi-year study of over 1000 youths and year-long follow-up, though the consensus is that a year was not long enough to fully measure the long-term impact of exposure to violence to violent behavior. Also, this study takes place entirely in Mobile; there is a distinct lack of representative urban environments with fundamentally different socio-cultural features (like those found in Northern, Midwestern or Western cities). The conclusions are generally consistent with the recent research linking a cultural of violence to achievement gap.

Reducing Poverty through Preschool Interventions

Greg J. Duncan, Jens Ludwig, and Katherine a. Magnuson

This article proposes a research study consisting of an intensive two-year education intervention for three and four-year-old children from low income home. The purpose of the study is to reduce poverty in the long and short-term by improving early learning abilities among low income children. This would therefore better equip students for success at the secondary and post-secondary level and raise their earning potential as adults accordingly. The program would include instruction from college-educated teachers who had a maximum teacher-student ratio of 6:1. The cost of the program would range from $8,000.00 to $12,000.00 per student and the authors propose that every toddler whose household income is not more than 1.5 times the poverty line be included at the program at no cost to the household (the cost would be borne by the public) and that that children from wealthier homes be allowed to participate but without the government subsidy.

This article, much like the article on the No Child Left Behind Act, stands apart from the other articles, for its lack of evidenced-based research or analysis. This article proposes an original program to act on other's research and makes the blanket statement that the program would prove to be a national financial windfall, more than justifying its likely $20 billion public expenditure. While, the body of research in the area does support the notion that focused learning at a very young age in a small classroom environment can close the achievement gap among minority students in urban schools (which could result in more students finding better paying jobs), the article offers no evidence or statistical analysis to support its findings. What this article does do that makes it potentially more beneficial is offer a practical and concrete plan to implement, as opposed to providing theory, without a suggestion on how to act upon the theory.

Successful Principalship of High-performance Schools in High-poverty Communities

By: Bill Mulford, Diana Kendall, John Ewington, Bill Edmunds,

Lawrie Kendall and Halia Silins

The purpose of this article is examine the role of the school principal in high-performance schools in high poverty areas. Traditionally, the important perspectives are from that of the student, the parents and the teacher, however, in this study the authors address how the leadership offered by the principal effects the academic performance of the low SES students in urban environments. The authors use studies starting from the 1970s and from all over the world, including Australia and Tasmania, to study common trends and characteristics of successful principals in high-poverty, high-performance schools, as well as the challenges they have faced. Copious statistical analysis was used to survey the demographics, work habits and expectations of principals of high need schools against those of principals of low need schools. The authors then compare results to draw conclusions, including that principals who are more independent of the system, have a greater sense of purpose and are more flexible in their approaches to systems and people.

This study article is a literature review of the research and studies that have identified and contributes to the study of closing the achievement gap in a number of unique ways. Also, this study presents a more global body of research in that the author's results hail from the U.S., the U.K., France, Australia and Canada. Finally, the method of research in this case is a literature, so the conclusions come strictly from analysis and synthesis as opposed to from any form of original testing. Still, the authors use reliable and relevant previous research to formulate and support their conclusions. The conclusion that high performance schools require high performance leadership is very consistent with the results found in the…[continue]

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