Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Neighborhood contexts and academic achievement: An analysis of Hispanic children in immigrant and native-born families
by Macartney, Suzanne, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2012, 312; 3518151
Abstract (Summary)

Hispanic children in the U.S. have made great strides in academic achievement. Yet gaps persist between Hispanic children and a number of their peers. This research investigates whether this diverse population of children may be better understood as two groups with different academic needs and assets: those in immigrant families and those in third and later generation families.

Community characteristics may influence Hispanic children in immigrant families more than or differently from their peers in native-born families. Local resources such as quality preschools, community values, role models, libraries, and social support shape the context of intellectual development. Neighborhood effect studies have examined how context affects academic outcomes by race and immigrant generation. This approach tests directly whether immigrant neighbors, concentrated poverty, concentrated affluence, and social networks affect academic achievement differently for the two groups of Hispanic children.

Data is from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (LAFANS). Academic assessments of Hispanic children in immigrant families were compared against assessments for Hispanic, black and white children in native-born families, and Asian children in immigrant families. LAFANS households were randomly selected from 65 neighborhoods sampled in Los Angeles County. Combined with decennial census summary file data, LAFANS allowed for tests of familism, trust in neighbors, immigrant concentration, concentrated poverty and affluence. Reading and mathematic assessments were based on the Woodcock-Johnson Revised tests of achievement. Classical linear regression and hierarchical level modeling made the best use of nested data, and allowed for hypothesis testing with family-level controls.

Results show Hispanic children in immigrant families outperformed their peers in native-born families in early reading, but underperformed in reading comprehension and mathematics. Neighborhoods explained 3.5% and 17% of the variation in reading and mathematic achievement, respectively. Concentrated affluence was more positive for Hispanic children in immigrant families compared with Hispanic and white children in native-born families. Immigrant concentration was negative for passage comprehension overall and negative for mathematics for white children in native-born families compared with Hispanic children in immigrant families. Support was found for neighborhood resource theory, person-context fit, social capital and social disorganization theory. Results suggest Hispanic immigrant families experienced social isolation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hernandez, Donald J., Denton, Nancy A.
Commitee: Deane, Glenn, Denton, Nancy A., Hernandez, Donald J.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Ethnic studies, Hispanic American studies, Demography
Keywords: Academic, Children, Context, Hispanic, Immigrants, Neighborhood
Publication Number: 3518151
ISBN: 978-1-267-49109-1
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