Differences in College and Career Planning Perspectives of Middle School Students Across Cultural Identity Groups
Suddick, Lori M.
University of Wisconsin--Stout
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Disparity in postsecondary transition rates of minority students as compared to their nonminority peers remains prevalent in the twenty-first century. This non-experimental quantitative study explored differences in post-graduation aspirations, factors influencing post-graduation plans, and the level of college-going knowledge across cultural identity groups of eighth grade students. The study sample included 478 eighth grade students in a large, diverse urban Midwest school district, with 42.8% non-minority and 57.2% minority. Data was collected through an electronic survey instrument developed for this study. The Middle School College and Career Planning Survey (MSCCPS) design framework integrated the college-going culture theory (McClafferty, McDonough, & Nuñez, 2002), the College and Career Readiness Framework (Conley, 2010), and the tenets of culturally relevant teaching (Ladson-Billings, 1995). The results affirm statistically significant differences exist between racial and ethnic groups of eighth grade students. The results also illuminate gaps in college and career planning practices to support a cultural college-going identity for minority students. The data support the appeal in the literature calling for the reform of traditional practices in the college choice process to overcome the disparity in the postsecondary transition rates of minority students.