Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Acceptance, Belonging, and Capital: The Impact of Socioeconomic Status at a Highly Selective, Private, University
by Mattson, Christopher Erik, Ed.D., University of Southern California, 2014, 249; 3680864
Abstract (Summary)

There will be challenges resulting from the goals of the completion agenda (Lee & Rawls, 2010), underrepresentation of low socioeconomic status (SES) students at highly selective colleges (Carnevale & Rose, 2003), and relationship between institution type and social mobility (Haveman & Smeeding, 2006). If rates of access and success for low SES students are not improved then the economic intentions behind the completion agenda may be compromised. This study measured the impact of SES and academic preparedness on academic outcomes at a highly selective, private, research university. Academic outcome data consisted of grade point average (GPA) and completed units after the first and fourth year, persistence to the second year, and graduation after the fourth year for the 2007, 2008, and 2009 freshmen cohorts. A composite score of high school GPA and test scores was used to determine the academic preparedness of students and the variable was statistically significantly for all academic outcomes measured. The comparison of students of similar academic preparedness revealed SES was statistically significant for GPA after the first and fourth year, first year units completed, and four year graduation. When further examining the effectiveness of a student support program, the results were inconclusive. Although the potentially at-risk students required to participate in the program achieved similar outcomes when compared to non-participants of similar SES and academic preparedness, the support program did not minimize the effects of SES. The findings of this study further advance previous research pointing to the challenges faced by low SES students in the areas of acceptance, belonging, and capital in higher education. The identification of potential best practices to respond to this will require future research examining the impact of SES at other universities, especially when academic preparedness is factored.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tambascia, Tracy
Commitee: Schafrik, Janice, Tobey, Patricia
School: University of Southern California
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration
Keywords: Academic progress, Completion agenda, Gpa, Graduation, Retention, Ses
Publication Number: 3680864
ISBN: 978-1-321-53247-0
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