The Effects of School Racial and Ethnic Composition on Academic Achievement in Adolescence

Hedwig Lee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This research examines the effects of school racial and ethnic composition on students’ academic achievement in the U.S. using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth) and Hierarchical Linear Models. This analysis includes Hispanics as an ethnic group, which stands apart from other research in this area that has traditionally focused on black and white student racial composition. In addition, peer group influences are measured by utilizing the comprehensive peer network data available for all respondents in the AddHealth sample. Interactions between individual race/ethnicity and school racial/ethnic composition are also tested to better understand the possible differential effects of racial/ethnic composition for each race/ethnicity. This research seeks to test if racial and ethnic inequality in academic achievement outcomes is partly explained by differences in school racial/ethnic composition. The results show that school and peer racial/ethnic composition has important effects on individual level achievement for white, black and Hispanic students.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2: Education, Gender, Religion, Language and Culture