Week 4 Reading - Latino College

Week 4 Reading - Latino College - Developmental Psychology...

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Neither Colorblind Nor Oppositional: Perceived Minority Status and Trajectories of Academic Adjustment Among Latinos in Elite Higher Education Deborah Rivas-Drake Brown University Margarita Mooney University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill As more Latinos experience upward social mobility, it is increasingly necessary to challenge oppositional cultural assumptions to explain how perceived minority status barriers may influence their academic achievement. The present study builds on previous work that identified 3 distinct minority status orientations among Latino college students entering elite colleges—which the authors call assimilation , accommodation , and resistance . Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, the authors examined how these orientations influence Latino students’ academic and social adjustment from their freshman to junior years of college. Latino students who most strongly questioned the openness of the opportunity structure to ethnic minorities—resisters—reported similar grades and time spent studying as their counterparts who perceived less ethnic and racial inequities. In addition, resisters did not disengage from their social environment but rather became increasingly involved in campus activities outside the classroom during their college career. Implications for understanding ethnic minority individuals’ interpretations of social stratification in well-resourced, high-achieving contexts are discussed. Keywords: Latinos, academic achievement, academic engagement, minority status With the ever-growing presence of Latinos in the American landscape, there has been an increasing interest in the diversity of their academic experiences and outcomes. Surprisingly little re- search has focused on how Latinos perceive the openness of the opportunity structure for ethnic and racial minorities during the developmental period known as emerging adulthood. Yet it is during this time that such individuals will likely make decisions that ultimately shape the kinds of social and economic contribu- tions they will be able to make to society as adults (Arnett, 2000). One such decision that greatly influences individuals’ later contri- bution to society is college attendance and graduation. Consider that as of 2007, just 12% of Latinos aged 25–29 had attained a bachelor’s degree (National Center for Education Statistics, 2008); thus, many members of this extremely young and growing ethnic group do not have a 4-year college education that would allow them to then attain the graduate and professional degrees that provide necessary credentials for the most financially rewarded and highest status careers in adulthood (e.g., medicine, law; Fry, top tier of American higher education are clearly poised to garner greater wealth and status from their occupations than their ethnic peers with lower levels of educational attainment, even Latino students in elite colleges perform less well academically relative to
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Week 4 Reading - Latino College - Developmental Psychology...

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