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Pathways to high school completion

Research Achievements

Pathways to high school completion

With NSF funding, IRSP Professor Sandra Graham has followed an ethnically diverse sample of 1400 adolescents in Los Angeles who transitioned from 11 middle schools to 50+ high schools. The project examines pathways to high school completion, with a focus on risk factors (e.g., experiences with discrimination) and protective factors (e.g., school and teacher ethnic diversity). The researchers found that Latino youth reported increasing racial discrimination across the first two years of high school and that discrimination was a risk factor for poor achievement by the end of 10th grade. However, as the ethnic diversity of the teachers increased, perceived discrimination decreased. Findings highlight the need to recruit ethnically diverse college graduates into the teaching profession, the psychosocial benefits of attending schools with a diverse teaching staff, and the importance of supportive teachers who can ease students' transition to high school and facilitate staying in school.