Academic Engagement of Ethnic Minority Children

Grants and Contracts Details


The proposed research project will examine factors related to the academic engagement and achievement of first- and second-generation Latino immigrant children in elementary school in a predominantly European American conununity. Specifically, it will examine theft (a) perceptions of ethnic discrimination at the peer, school, and community level, (b) development of ethnic identity, and (c) elementary school characteristics, such as ethnic composition of the schools, how schools select children for and implement the ESL programs, and whether schools promote multiculturalism and tolerance. The study will assess how these factors are related to children's attitudes about school (e.g., identification with school, intrinsic value of school) and academic performance over the course of two academic years. The research project will examine these issues in a sample drawn from a school district that is 61% European American, 24% African American, and 8% Latino/Hispanic. Approximately 200 third- and fourth- graders from six schools (varying in their ethnic compositions) will be individually interviewed by a bilingual Latina research assistant. Child measures will assess perceptions of discrimination, awareness of anti-immigration sentiments, ethnic identity, perceptions of similarity to peers, attitudes and perceptions of ESL, and academic attitudes. Teacher measures will assess their valuing of multiculturalism and diversity in the classroom and their beliefs about ESL. This project is well aligned with the stated research interests of FCD (e.g., the characteristics of elementary school programs that foster the cognitive, social, and emotional well-being of newcomer children), and has important policy- relevant implications for the local school district. The district has explicitly expressed a concern about the academic disengagement of their first- and second-generation Latino immigrant students and this study is designed to communicate information to them about ways to promote children's positive ethnic identity, to better integrate their ESL program, and to reduce children's experiences with discrimination.
Effective start/end date4/1/093/31/12


  • Foundation for Child Development: $149,858.00


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