We were expecting our subjects to report that those who attended college had 1) been expected to attend college by their family, 2) had earned a high SAT score, 3) had a higher income, 4) had been tracked into advanced classes, 5) had family who attended college as well, and 6) that subjects of color and womyn would be less likely to report these expectancies. We divided our other hypothesizes into four categories of discussion: the effects of family exceptions; the effects of personal expectations; the effects of income, race and gender; and the effects of tracking and SAT scores on academic performance.
FAMILY EXPECTATIONS: We hypothesized that subjects whose parents had expected them to go to college would 1) have expected themselves to attend college, 2) have earned high SAT scores, 3) would have been tracked into advanced classes in high school, and 4) would have attended college.
According to our findings it is true that subjects who¹s parents expected them to go to college also expected themselves to go to college (fig. 1). For the purpose of talking about a self fulfilling prophesy, we could assume that these subjects had greater feelings of self worth because their parents had high expectations of them. Therefore, we thought subjects with positive encouragement at home would also receive higher SAT test scores than those subjects without high parental expectations. However our data does not support this assumption. SAT test scores do not seem to be related to parental expectations of college attendance. On our observed frequency table comparing parental college expectancy and SAT scores, no subjects in the low test score range reported that they did not have family support (Fig. 10).
We did find that subjects with parents expecting them to attend college were tracked into higher classes and were more likely to attend college (fig. 6). Since parental expectations seem to have an effect on high school performance and college attendance, yet they do not have an effect on SAT scores, we may make a tentative conclusion that SAT scores are not the best way to determine whether a student is ³college material.²
PERSONAL EXPECTATIONS: We hypothesized that subjects with a personal expectation to attend college would 1) have family expecting them to attend college, 2) would have attended college, and 3) would have earned high SAT scores.
We have determined that those subjects attending college had a family expecting them to do so (fig. 1). Subjects with personal expectations to eventually attend college did end up attending college. (fig. 2). Once again, though, we see expectations not having an effect on SAT scores: those subjects who expected to attend college did not necessarily get higher SAT scores (fig. 11). Despite our earlier conclusion that SAT scores may not be a good indicator of self-determination and, consequently, the desire to attend college, SAT scores may still have some value. According to our data, subjects could not ³will² themselves high SAT scores just by having college expectations. Perhaps this is because SATs measure ³intelligence² independently of personal or family expectations.
INCOME, RACE, AND GENDER: We hypothesized that subjects of color 1) would not be expected to attend college by their family, 2) would not have attended college, and 3) would not have been tracked into advanced classes at the same rate white subjects were.
We hypothesized that subjects with high income 1) would have been expected by their parents to attend college, 2) would have attended college, and 3) would have been tracked into advanced high school classes.
We hypothesized that female students would 1) not have been tracked into advanced classes and 2) would not have been expected to attend college by their parents.
According to our data, income has an effect on parental expectations: those in the low income bracket were not expected to attend college as often as those in the medium and high brackets (fig.15). This may due solely to the great financial burden of college, or to a general lack of faith in the abilities of subjects from the low income bracket. As stated before, parental expectations also have an effect on attending college: overall, subjects whose parents who expected them to attend college do so (fig.3 ). However, when comparing individuals with lower incomes, we did not find they were less likely to attend college or that they were more likely to be placed in lower tracks (fig.16 and 18). These findings may be due to the fact that our sample was taken from a college ³hang out² that is frequented by college students who presumably were ³college bound² in high school. Out of 43 subjects in our survey, only 7 subjects did not attend college (fig. 16).
We also found that out of 42 subjects, only 6 were people of color, and only 7 out of 42 were in the low income bracket. ( see fig. 17). These numbers are most likely due to the location where the survey was given and are not representative to the rest of the country.
Our findings show that race does not correlate with income (P-value = 1.556; see fig. 17). And, according to our data, an individual¹s race does not inhibit or promote the likelihood of attending college (fig. 14). In addition, race does not seem to have a bearing on what level a student is tracked in (fig.8). Given this information, we might then find that the parents of lower-income or non-white subjects expected their child to attend college. However, those our subjects of color were less likely to have parents who expected them to attend college (fig. 13). Since subjects of color were not less likely to attend college than their white counterparts, the lack of parental support given to subjects of color may be due to changes in the acceptance of people of color at universities since the time our subjects¹ parents were college age. It may also be due to their parents indoctrination into a general societal attitude expecting less from people of color. Again, it should also be stated that though our survey showed no significant difference between the income received by people of color and whites, our data was taken from a sample almost exclusively of white, upper-to-middle class students. The observed frequency for race and income shows that out of 42 subjects only 6 were people of color and only 7 out of 42 were in the low income bracket. (see fig. 17). Another study should be conducted that has a control group of whites and a variable group comprised of people of color in order to determine if racial equality is increasing within U.S. school systems.
Even though we hypothesized that female subjects would have been tracked into lower classes and would have had less parental expectation than male subjects to attend college, we found no evidence to support either. (see fig. 9 and 12). More experiments should be run in order to tell if our findings are indicative of a national trend towards greater equality between the education of males and females.
TRACKING AND SATs: We hypothesized that subjects who were tracked into advanced classes would 1) have been expected to attend college by their parents and 2) would have attended college.
We hypothesized that subjects who earned high SAT scores would 1) have expected themselves to attend college and 2) would have been expected to attend college by their parents.
We did find that subjects who were tracked into higher level classes were also expected by their parents to go to college. (fig. 6). When looking just at the subjects who did not attend college, a fair number of them were tracked into advanced classes. There does not seem to be a correlation between being tracked into advanced classes and attending college (fig. 7). This finding contradicts our ³self-fulfilling prophecy² hypothesis. A factor in this outcome maybe that the atmosphere of a coffee house attracts a ³intellectual² crowd regardless of whether they have gone to university or not.
According to our data, one of our hypothesis, namely that scoring high on the SATs would correlate with an expectation to attend college, was disproved. The self-fulfilling prophecy does not pan out in terms of standardized tests. (fig. 11). It maybe that the majority of subjects already expected to go to college before they took the SAT, or that the subject decided to attend college after receiving a decent score on the test.. In addition, the SAT scores of our subjects made no significant difference on expectations of our subjects¹ parents (fig.10). Subjects with lower SAT scores were still expected to attend college by their parents.
One of the clearest conclusions we can make from our survey is that individuals who have parents expecting them to attend college are more likely to expect the same of themselves. This fits in with the idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy: If an individual thinks she will succeed, she will. Accepting the notion of the self-fulfilling prophecy, we can assume that individuals who receive parental support in their decision to attend college will be more likely to attend college and get placed into advanced classes. For our survey, however, SAT scores were independent of personal or parental expectations about college attendance.
Since we have found positive reinforcement influences an individual¹s perception about her or his ability to achieve academic success, we recommend grade school students be given support at home and in the classroom. Positive encouragement in the classroom is important because even if a correlation between advanced tracking and college attendance doesn¹t match up, personal expectations and actual college attendance do match up. Therefore since posative reiemforcemnt can in no way be a hinderance, children in any setting could benafit.
Jones, Russel A., Self-Fulfilling Prophecies, University of Kentucky, 1977.
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