Educational aspirations of Mexican-American students

Woman in her graduationMexican American students may have lowered educational aspirations compared to other students because of concerns about the barriers to furthering their education, says a recent study in The Career Development Quarterly.

Many Mexican-American students recognize the importance of getting an education, yet only 57% graduate from high school and 11% from college, the researchers write. This study looked at the influence of perceived barriers on educational aspirations as well as gender, parents’ education level and generation level on educational aspirations.

“The influence of perceptions of educational barriers was a significant, unique predictor of educational aspirations above and beyond the influence of gender, generation level, and parents’ education level,” the authors write.

High school counselors should examine Mexican American high school students’ beliefs about the resources they will need and about the barriers they expect to encounter, write the researchers. Identifying the perceived needs of these students may help school professionals and counselors to support students’ goals and help students develop the confidence to achieve their goals.

A total of 186 Mexican American high school students at two public high schools on the Texas-Mexico border town participated in the study. The students, in grades 10-12, completed a questionnaire that gathered demographic information and information about educational aspirations. They also completed a 28-item instrument, Perception of Educational Barriers.

The researchers did not find that gender had an influence on aspirations in this study. But generation level (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and parents’ educational level were found to have some influence on aspirations.

“The Influence of Gender, Generation Level, Parents’ Education Level, and Perceived Barriers on the Educational Aspirations of Mexican American High School Students,” by Lizette Ojeda and Lisa Flores, The Career Development Quarterly, September 2008 Volume 57, pp. 84-95.

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