Educational inequalities are a central focus of sociological inquiry. Considering that K-12 education is mandatory in Canada, it is important to build a working knowledge of emerging and continuing forms of inequality in that sector. This session invites empirical papers on early educational and family processes that generate disparities in schooling outcomes, particularly by social class. We encourage presenters to link dynamics producing inequalities in schooling to policy options in education, and to take a frank and evidence-based approach. Tags: (In)equality, Children And Youth, Education
Utilizing data from two waves of the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS; 1988 and 1990), this study examines the role of school characteristics in determining mathematics self efficacy of US high-school students. Specifically, the study examines whether the school emphasis towards mathematics is associated with different levels of students mathematics self efficacy, and whether students from different types of schools exhibit different levels of mathematics self efficacy. Results from OLS regression models indicate that the higher the schools emphasis toward mathematics, the higher the students mathematics self efficacy. In addition, findings demonstrate the importance of type of school to the students level of mathematics efficacy, such that student from different types of schools exhibit different levels of mathematics efficacy. Finally, the findings show that the association between the schools emphasis towards mathematics and mathematics self efficacy is higher among students from low socioeconomic status than among students from high socioeconomic status.
Most educational researchers intuit that parental involvement and aspirations for education should translate into educational success. These beliefs speak to a half century of research that has demonstrated the importance of family background for student outcomes. Parental involvement has been much-researched in education for decades, subject to several literature reviews (e.g. Henderson and Mapp 2002; Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler 1997; Jeynes 2005; Pomerantz et al. 2007). This literature illuminated various interactions between families and schools and motivated a branch of policy aimed at boosting parent engagement in education. However, despite its vitality and popularity, we contend that this literature has not clearly identified _just how_ parental involvement and aspirations facilitate school success. Namely, the social mechanisms, causal pathways, and contexts by which parental involvement and aspirations generate educational outcomes have not been adequately sorted out. This problem is exemplified by the puzzling empirics that have emerged in research. Connections between parental involvement and educational outcomes thus remain a “black box” in which the exact processes by which family “inputs” are converted into educational “outputs” remain obscure. What is now needed to pry open this black box, we argue, are not piecemeal changes such as new statistical techniques, measures, or theoretical vocabularies. Instead, a new holistic and integrated framework is needed, one that can provide comprehensive explanations of how parental actions at the micro level interconnect with meso-level school processes and macro-level institutions. Our review will build a framework by re-organizing this large, multi-method and multi-disciplinary literature into three analytic concepts –_ mechanisms_, _causation_, and _contexts. _Our review will be thematic, aiming to 1) identify social mechanisms, 2) infer causal links, and 3) sort out contextual effects. We will identify the most effective research designs and methods in this area, summarize their findings, and point to promising directions for future research.