Mix Together, Expect Better? The Role of School Socioeconomic Diversity in Shaping Students’ Educational Expectations

Yuan He , University of Michigan

Striving to understand the consequences of ongoing class-based school segregation, this paper examines how attending socioeconomically diverse school shapes students’ educational expectations. After controlling for other school-and individual-level characteristics, I find a positive association between school-level socioeconomic diversity and students’ educational expectations. The results also indicate that, in schools with low mean SES, this positive association is especially pronounced among students with less educated parents. Consequently, it contributes to a narrower parental-education-based disparity in expectations in more diverse schools than in segregated ones. However, a different pattern is found in schools with medium or high mean SES, where students’ relative socioeconomic disadvantage in school acts as a moderator that attenuates the association between diversity and expectation, making socioeconomically disadvantaged students unable to benefit from socioeconomic diversity as much as their more affluent peers do. The findings thus point to both potential benefit and drawback of school socioeconomic integration plans.

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 Presented in Session 92. School Diversity and Student Outcomes