CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN SAN ANTONIO SCHOOLS
It is important to examine how socioeconomic status has been found to influence student performance across a number of different cultures, countries, and government styles. One study that appears to illustrate this most effectively focused on examining the impact of socioeconomic status on academic achievement among students in open and closed societies. In this context, Doren correlated open with free and closed with corrupt and dysfunctional. According to the study results, the correlative relationship between socioeconomic status and academic performance was observed in both open and closed societies. This indicates that socioeconomic status may indeed have some impact on academic performance as this relationship has been found across different government types, cultures, and geographic regions. What was most compelling about this study, however, involved the fact that socioeconomic status was found to have a much stronger influence on academic performance in closed societies and societies where corruption is rampant. There may be a number of implications that influence this result, including the possibility that countries with higher levels of corruption may have higher levels of the population living close to or below the poverty level.
Doren's findings appear to be supported by those of Hart who postulated that lower socioeconomic status has been linked to an increased observation of reading and language difficulties. The study examined the impact that socioeconomic status may have on academic performance across core curriculum subjects, including mathematics, science, and language arts. Ultimately, the study found that students hailing from households of lower socioeconomic status have an increased likelihood of taking lower level cources in school, despite the availability of college prep courses and other more academically stimulating curriculum options. Further, Hart contends that the increased propensity to take lower level courses that is observed among students of lower socioeconomic backgrounds can effectively contribute to an overall reduction in academic performance, as well as slower rates of academic progress over the course of compulsory education.
Although much of the research focused on socioeconomic status as an influencial factor on academic performance is conducted by academic researchers and industry experts, there is also research available on this topic that has been conducted by highly reputable academic organizations. The American Psychological Association represents one such credible scholarly organization that has conducted intense research in this area. According to APA prevailing literature continues to reiterate the link between low socioeconomic status and lower academic performance, as well as slower rates of academic progress when compared to students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Further, the APA outlined four main findings associated with the impact of socioeconomic standing and academic performance among American students, which include:
- Children coming from low income households have been found to acquire language skills at a slower rate, while exhibiting delayed recognition of the alphabet and phonetical awareness.
- Children hailing from households of high socioeconomic status have been found to have a higher propensity toward proficiency in mathematical concepts than children from lower income households.
- Students from low incoming households entered high school at a level of 3.3 grades behind their counterparts from higher soicoeconomic households.
- The high school drop out rate in 2007 was found to be highest among students from households of low socioeconomic status (16.7%) compared to only 3.2% from high socioeconomic status.
The literature presented above does provide compelling evidence to suggest that a link between socioeconomic status and academic performance is not that much of a stretch. Even major academic organizations such as the APA have presented study findings to strengthen the case for this correlative relationship. It would be dishonest, however, to stop here without discussing research that suggests the link between these two variables has appeared to weaken in rcent years. Thomas & Stockton conducted quantitative research using test scores of students within Louisiana's public school system, which is Texas' neighbor to the East. The findings of this study indicated that the family make-up of a school or district had a more profound impact on performance than race or socioeconomic status. Despite this, the researchers did conclude that socioeconomic status does remain a prevalent influential factor of student academic performance, although this influence has begun to diminish in recent years.
According to the literature that has been examined in this section, it seems rather plausible that socioeconomic status could have a profound influence on student academic performance as demonstrated by TSI test scores. As such, this indicates that the inclusion of socioeconomic data in the study process where it may be compared to racial/ethnic variables would be highly beneficial in the effort to identify where and how correlative relationships exist relating to academic performance among students in Bexar County, Texas. Before this study can be conducted, however, further exploration of literature is necessary. In particular, this study will be focused on determining whether or not race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status has any bearing or impact on academic performance in the specific discipline of English language literacy. The section that follows provides a brief overview of the academic performance category that will be scrutinized for this study, particularly with regard to how relevant variables interact among students of Bexar County, Texas.