Peer Social Capital and the Educational Progress of Minority Adolescents

Igor Ryabov, University of Texas at El Paso
Franklin Goza, Bowling Green State University

This study examines the role of peer social capital as a predictor of adolescent academic outcomes, using multilevel models and a nationally representative sample. Results reveal that factors commonly associated with academic outcomes (e.g., school racial/ethnic and socioeconomic composition) as well as others, including peer network segregation, had a significant impact on both educational achievement and attainment, this study’s dependent variables. Furthermore, school composition is a significant predictor of achievement. Likewise, academic attainment was lower in schools where low-income students were concentrated. For some racial groups improved educational attainment occurred in schools with higher concentrations of minority students. However, peer social capital was a more significant predictor of both achievement and attainment for all racial/ethnic groups than peer network segregation. Finally, and counter to some studies, results indicate that African-American students have better academic achievement and attainment in schools where friendships are segregated by race rather than in non-segregated schools.

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Presented in Session 169: Determinants of College Enrollment and Attainment