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Socioeconomic Status, Intelligence, and the Attainment of Higher Education

William H. Sewell and Vimal P. Shah
Sociology of Education
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Winter, 1967), pp. 1-23
DOI: 10.2307/2112184
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112184
Page Count: 23
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Socioeconomic Status, Intelligence, and the Attainment of Higher Education
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Abstract

In this study of a randomly selected cohort of Wisconsin high school seniors, the relative influences of socioeconomic status and measured intelligence are examined at successive stages in higher education by use of cross-tabular analysis, effect parameters, and path analysis. Both socioeconomic status and intelligence have direct effects on planning on college, college attendance, and college graduation, and considerable indirect effect on the level of educational attainment through their effects on college plans and college attendance. However, for females the relative effect of socioeconomic status on college plans, college attendance, and college graduation was greater than was the effect of intelligence, while for males the relative effect of intelligence at each of these stages was greater than the effect of socioeconomic status. When only those who attended college were included in the analysis, intelligence was more important than was socioeconomic status, for both sexes, in determining who eventually graduated from college. But socioeconomic status continued to influence college graduation--even after socioeconomic selection had played its part in determining who would attend college.

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