RESEARCH 2017-05-23T00:46:10+00:00

Research

Further down this page, please find the following:
1959 Port Clinton Survey
Bibliography

A through D
E through K
L through Z

Other Data Sources

1959 Port Clinton Survey

Survey of Class of 1959, Port Clinton, Ohio, Predicting College Entry Immediately After High School Graduation And Final Educational Attainment

The following charts represent “causal path analysis,” showing the relative importance of various paths between key variables.  The entries are betas.  The causal impact of any multistep path is calculated by the cross-product of the betas along that path.  The sum of the various paths between any two variables can be simply added up and (if the model is correct) that sum should equal the bivariate beta between those two variables.  In this case the numbers add up as predicted, which means the model is probably correct (with no relevant omitted variables).

The impact of parental education (in this case simply the sum of mom’s education and dad’s education) on college-going immediately after PCHS is almost entirely driven by parental encouragement or academic tracking (here combined into a single variable, because those two variables turn out to be virtually identical), though there is a minor (statistically significant) path via class rank.

Chart 1

This model implies that roughly 16 percent of the total variance in immediate college entry was predicted by parental education, mostly because children from better educated homes got more encouragement to attend college.  Whatever the causal story, that modest correlation between parental education (on the one hand) and parental encouragement/school tracking (on the other hand) got embedded at an early stage, and nothing else that happened afterwards either strengthened or weakened the link between parents’ educational level and immediate post-PCHS college-going.

No measure of parental resources adds any predictive power whatsoever—not parental occupational status, not parental unemployment, not family economic insecurity during high school, not homeownership, not neighborhood characteristics, and not family structure.  (We did not attempt to gather data on family income, because children’s estimates of parental income are known to be highly unreliable, especially at a distance of more than 50 years.)  Parental education, parental encouragement, and class rank were all modestly predictive of extracurricular participation, but holding constant those variables, extracurricular participation itself was unrelated to college-going.

Chart 2

Because post-secondary education later in life (e.g., community college) was much less closely correlated with parental encouragement or high school tracking than was immediate college-going, a comparable path diagram predicting ultimate educational attainment shows even less impact of family background.  This model implies that less than 7 percent of total variance in final educational attainment in the Port Clinton class of 1959 was predicted by parental education.  In fact, high school class rank predicted final educational attainment somewhat better than it predicted college entry immediately after high school.  Assuming that class rank was a rough proxy for academic merit, this pattern suggests that post-secondary education later in life tended to be more meritocratic than college entry immediately after high school.  In other words, high-achieving students who had not been encouraged to enter college by their parents or the high school tended to make up for that later by going back to school to get additional education.

Chart 3

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Other Data Sources

The Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire examines opportunity gap data at the state level, including measures like income inequality and poverty, family structure, educational access and achievement to help identify the trends in the changing landscape of social mobility. To learn more, visit https://carsey.unh.edu/policy/gaps-in-youth-opportunity-by-state/about

 

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