Schoolmate Context in Early Adolescence and the Educational Attainment of African American Males

Cheryl Roberts, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Despite many decades of research on the black-white achievement gap, we lack an understanding of how gender and race intersect to influence educational attainment in different contexts. The gender gap in educational attainment is highest among African Americans, with African American males having lower educational attainment than other groups. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this paper investigates how the level of family disadvantage of schoolmates in grades 7-8 (school-level index based on parents’ education, poverty status, family structure, and teenage parenting) relates to the educational attainment of African American males in early adulthood. How do patterns for black males compare with those for black females and white youth, after accounting for individual family disadvantages and other individual, family, school, and community covariates? Results support the hypothesis that concentrated schoolmate disadvantage more negatively relates to high school graduation and college entry among black males than females. Gender patterns differ among whites.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Population Aging; Gender, Race and Ethnicity