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Toward Explaining Differences in Educational Achievement among Mexican American Language-Minority Students

Russell W. Rumberger and Katherine A. Larson
Sociology of Education
Vol. 71, No. 1 (Jan., 1998), pp. 68-92
DOI: 10.2307/2673222
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2673222
Page Count: 25
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Toward Explaining Differences in Educational Achievement among Mexican American Language-Minority Students
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Abstract

One major question confronting educational researchers and practitioners is why some minority students are successful in school and others are not. This study documented the extent of differences in educational achievement among a cohort of Mexican American language-minority students in a large, urban middle school and assessed them using two theoretical perspectives-socioeconomic and sociocultural-and a conceptual framework of the roles of social and academic behavior on educational achievement. Bilingual students who were fluent English proficient (FEP) had better grades and a higher rate of educational stability and were more likely to complete a quarter of their high school credits by the end of ninth grade than were students who were limited English proficient or from English-only backgrounds. These differences appear to be attributable to the social behavior of FEP students and other, unmeasured characteristics, which supports a sociocultural perspective of educational achievement.

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