Mentor: Dr. Cliff Brown, UNH Department of Sociology
Parent and Teacher Expectations on Student Success: A Study of High School Sophomores in 2002
Despite the importance of education for securing a well-paying jobs in today's society, the US Census Bureau reports that approximately 10 percent of high school students drop out of school each year. The economy rewards those who have developed specialized skills through higher education so the consequences of dropping out are becoming increasingly serious for students who fail to earn at least a high school diploma. For this reason, many researchers have investigated the specific factors that may increase or decrease a student's likelihood of completing high school. These include effects of student, family and facility characteristics including race, income and location. This research will investigate the effects of student, parent, and teacher expectations on the level of high school drop out rates in the United States.
Although many researchers have considered the effects of ethnicity, region, family dynamics, and other structural factors, more work is needed to understand how the expectations of students, family members, and teachers influence high school completion. This study will investigate the effects of expectations on students' academic success using National Education Longitudinal Study 2002- data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics- using a multiple regression model. Since data on student dropout rates are not available the National Educational Longitudinal Study, student expectations will be used as a substitute on student dropout rates. The focus of this study will be primarily on the influence of teacher and parent expectations of the student on the student’s own expectations.
In order to further explain the effects of such an intangible variable such as expectations, I will also be conducting several interviews of "successful" students- students who have completed high school, as well as "unsuccessful" students- students who have dropped out. This qualitative information will be important for understanding the process by which students make decisions about their educations. I anticipate conducting interviews with GMAT students and blue collar workers between the ages of 19 and 24 using a convenience sample of Boston area residents.