Understanding the influence of race/ethnicity, gender, and class on inequalities in academic and non-academic outcomes among Eighth-Grade Students: Findings from an intersectionality approach

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Abstract

© 2015 Bécares, Priest. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and gender inequalities in academic achievement have been widely reported in the US, but how these three axes of inequality intersect to determine academic and non-academic outcomes among school-aged children is not well understood. Using data from the US Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten (ECLS-K; N = 10,115), we apply an intersectionality approach to examine inequalities across eighthgrade outcomes at the intersection of six racial/ethnic and gender groups (Latino girls and boys, Black girls and boys, and White girls and boys) and four classes of socioeconomic advantage/disadvantage. Results of mixture models show large inequalities in socioemotional outcomes (internalizing behavior, locus of control, and self-concept) across classes of advantage/disadvantage. Within classes of advantage/disadvantage, racial/ethnic and gender inequalities are predominantly found in the most advantaged class, where Black boys and girls, and Latina girls, underperform White boys in academic assessments, but not in socioemotional outcomes. In these latter outcomes, Black boys and girls perform better than White boys. Latino boys show small differences as compared to White boys, mainly in science assessments. The contrasting outcomes between racial/ethnic and gender minorities in self-assessment and socioemotional outcomes, as compared to standardized assessments, highlight the detrimental effect that intersecting racial/ethnic and gender discrimination have in patterning academic outcomes that predict success in adult life. Interventions to eliminate achievement gaps cannot fully succeed as long as social stratification caused by gender and racial discrimination is not addressed.

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Bécares, L., & Priest, N. (2015). Understanding the influence of race/ethnicity, gender, and class on inequalities in academic and non-academic outcomes among Eighth-Grade Students: Findings from an intersectionality approach. PLoS ONE, 10(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0141363

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