Examining the effects of academic press, social support, and collective efficacy in U.S. high schools on students’ preparedness for college
Mohammed, Meca B.
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The purpose of this study was to explore the differences in students’ level of preparation for postsecondary education resulting from various aspects of high school organizational characteristics. Previous research has examined the individual and combined effects of academic press, social support, and collective efficacy on college entrance exams and high school grade point average. However, there have been few contemporary studies that explicitly relate to the interaction effects of school-level factors. Utilizing data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), this study employed a series of hierarchical linear models to examine (1) the variance within and between schools and (2) the relationship between high school organizational characteristics and educational outcomes. The modeling began with the simplest multilevel model and progressed to more complex models: (a) unconditional, (b) means-as-outcomes, (c) random-coefficient, and (d) intercepts as slopes-as-outcomes. The analytic sample was limited to students with documented experiences in a particular school setting (n=13,358). The study found that variance in the outcome measures was better explained at the school level than at the student level. Findings also indicated no significant relationship between academic press and college entrance exams or high school grade point average. Additionally, the main effects of collective efficacy were shown to have a significant and negative association with the outcome measures. When controlling for student-level variables, however, the main effects of mean support showed a positive and statistically significant relationship to the outcome measures. The interactions between three organizational characteristics—math collective efficacy, English collective efficacy, support—and poverty concentration over 50% showed the strongest positive and statistically significant association with student-level predictors.