(5) Path Analysis of the Academic Achievement of Black Eighth Graders

Deril D. Wood
Pinellas County Schools

Abstract: This study analyzed the academic achievement of a nationally representative sample of black eighth-graders (N = 2730) and their parents by examining the direct and indirect “effects” of family, personal and school variables on academic achievement. A literature review provided a theoretical basis by identifying nine explanatory variables that fit into three categories. Academic achievement was a composite of standardized test scores in reading, mathematics, science and social studies. Data were collected through the National Center for Educational Statistics Longitudinal Study (NELS:88). Path Analysis revealed that five of the nine explanatory variables were related to academic achievement. SES, motivation and ability demonstrated the largest direct effects on achievement. School variables demonstrated only negligible effects on achievement. Motivation and ability were the best mediators of family variables. The mediating effects of school variables were either negligible or absent. The reader is urged to use caution interpreting these results.

Citation: Wood, D. D. (1995). Path analysis of the academic achievement of black eighth graders. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 35(1), 34-53.

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