Ethnicity, gender, and the academic performance of adolescents: An examination of the influence of culture
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Previous research on the educational performance and attainment of American students has often revealed distinct patterns across socioeconomic levels. What is often lacking, however, is the consideration of how students' family and ethnic characteristics may affect their performance in school. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study, this study examines the relationship between ethnicity, gender, and family characteristics upon the educational performance and attainment of African American, Asian, Hispanic, and White students in the United States. Specific characteristics representing distinct cultural attributes related to ethnicity were included in the analyses, such as the language spoken in the home, parent-child interactions, and the nature of parental aspirations of success for their children. Asians were shown to have the highest overall levels of performance and attainment, a pattern which was shown to be associated with the higher aspirations of Asian parents and the use of a non-English language in the home. Hispanic students reported the lowest levels of performance and attainment, and this pattern was associated with their lower socioeconomic characteristics (e.g., household income). The findings of this study are discussed within the framework of culture and its meaning within school, home, and community environments.