Contextual Effects on College Expectations and Educational Achievement: A Longitudinal Analysis

Bethany Everett, University of Colorado at Boulder
Jarron M. Saint Onge, University of Houston

Neighborhood characteristics have been shown to be related to individual educational attainment. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and a family process model, we examine the role of neighborhood in influencing adolescents' overall expectations for their future accomplishments and subsequently examine how these expectations affect actual educational achievement in young adulthood. We control for census level neighborhood characteristics and employ multilevel random effects models to capture unobserved neighborhood level heterogeneity in our analysis. Moreover, we include mean individual expectations at the neighborhood level to capture normative neighborhood processes. Results show that neighborhood and school characteristics are important predictors of both expectations and future outcomes and even after these controls, intra-neighborhood variance accounts for roughly 13% of outcome variation (ICC=.13). Additionally, normative expectations also influence individual level expectations and outcomes. These results provide further compelling evidence regarding the role of place as being an important predictor of educational aspirations and achievement.

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Presented in Poster Session 4