Although prior research suggests that Latino children of immigrants are segregated in low-income, high-minority schools, no prior work has examined the effects of race and class composition on Latino student's academic achievement or the extent to which compositional effects vary by generational status. We analyze the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) data using hierarchical linear models. Academic achievement is measured by grade point average (GPA) and add health picture vocabulary test (AHPVT) score. We find that socioeconomic composition of the school but not racial composition is an important predictor of AHPVT test scores of Latino adolescents. The findings vary by generational status in the case of GPA. School SES has a positive effect and school minority composition has a negative effect on grades only in the case of foreign-born Latinos. Although GPA and AHPVT scores vary significantly by generational status and ethnicity, these achievement differences are better explained by family background than by variations in school composition. A possible reason, one which is supported by the results, is that high levels of social capital in immigrant families help buffer children from the disadvantages associated with the schools they attend.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science