In the United States
In the United States, twenty percent of the school age population consists of students from different countries (Qian et al., 2018). According to the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2004), as citied in Wang et al., thirty to fifty percent of middle school students are uncommitted to their school work. This ultimately affects their educators’ ability to raise their students test scores and meet their students desires to improve in school. Racism is known as an obstacle, especially for minority students, to underachieve at the academic level (Kim et al., 2018). However, males on average have a lower score on adaptive behavior and higher results of aggression in their first year of school, which results in below average long-term success in education (Duncan et al. 2007, and Raver 2002, as citied in Kim et al. 2018). Overall, this paper will examine whether gender and ethnicities determines the success boys and girls have in their academic achievements in the future. Nevertheless, according to Boutte (2008) and Segura-Mora (2009), as citied in Kim et al., (2018), racism is found to influence minority children’s learning abilities and achievements.
The purpose of this research paper is to investigate whether gender and ethnicities are correlated to the amount of academic achievements a child has. The research question for the paper is: How are children’s academic achievements correlated to their gender and ethnicity? The hypotheses for the research question is:
1. In relation to gender and ethnicity, girls from ethnic backgrounds will have more academic achievements.
2. In relation to gender and ethnicity, boys from ethnic backgrounds will have less academic achievements.
According to Qian et al., (2018) gender is based off references of social and cultural differences compared to the individual’s biological make up. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) (1992) as citied in Rice et al. (2010), suggested that males are more likely to pursuing mathematics and science related careers to females. 2018). According to Benner et al., (2018), race and ethnicity is described as the beginning of social hierarchy which defines whites from other racial/ethnic correspondents. The developmental systems perspective of school readiness provided by Mashburn & Pianta, (2006) as citied in Kim et al., (2018) explains how the relationship between the teacher and students is very critical for the child’s understanding of basic academic and social skills.
Positive relationships were observed in prekindergarten which ultimately enhanced children’s academic readiness and social skills. However, children of color tend to experience negative teacher-student relationships which leads to less flexibility while adapting into the new environments. Academic achievement in school is known as receiving high results academically and increased amounts of positive engagements in the classroom (Wang et al., 2018). People of color are connected to lower levels of school readiness in the first few years of school, which effects their achievements in the future. It is significantly higher for the Latino student population (Aud, Fox, & Kewal Ramani, 2010, as citied in Kim et al., 2018).
According to Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological System theory, individuals are impacted by systems and their environment. For example, the mesosystem includes relationship between the family, friends, or teachers in the individual’s life (Kim et al., 2018). To elaborate more on this topic, the author will focus mainly on the mesosystem. Race and academic achievements through the mesosystem level will be addressed by school climates such as the implications in the classroom (Dee, 2004; Lee,2007, as citied in Kim et al., 2018). The mesosystem can be shown through the teacher’s remarks and actions. The way teachers communicate with their students include; using their tone of voice, utilizing facial expressions and posture, and influencing their learning process (Hunter, 2016, as citied from Kim et al., 2018). Overall, these remarks and actions makes the children feel judged and not accepted in the classroom. This has especially been seen towards Latino and African American students. Teacher reactions toward Latino and African American students tend to be on the negative side of the spectrum (Tenenbaum ; Ruck, 2007 as citied in Kim et al., 2018). According to Gilliam, Maupin, Reyes, Accavitti, ; Sonic, 2016, (as citied in Kim et al., 2018) the main reason for the negative behavior is from phenotypicality bias and people of color were reported to require more of their teacher’s attention. Overall, based on the children’s ethnicity, students are limited to increasing their academic achievements.
Academic Achievement and Gender and Ethnicity: School readiness and Engagement
As mentioned, the purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between academic achievement, gender, and ethnicity in children from different levels of school readiness. The research question that will be answered in this paper is: How are children’s academic achievements correlated to their gender and ethnicities?
According to Raver (2002) and Duncan et al., (2007), as citied in Kim et al., (2018), the early skills of school readiness, such as, academic and social-emotional skills, are known to have positive responses to achievements in school. In this longitudinal study, it included 414 Mexican American (MA) children and 336 Dominican American (DA) in which 367 children were boys and 383 children were girls. These children were recently enrolled as a prekindergarten or kindergarten student in 1 of 24 public elementary schools in New York City.
Academic school readiness was recorded based on The Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning-third Edition (DIAL-3; Mardell-Czudnowski & Goldberg, 1998, as citied from Kim et el., 2018). DIAL-3 is used for children between the ages of three to six years old which detects academic capabilities. DIAL-3 was tested while the children were enrolled in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Kim et al. also tested the social emotional skills that children used in school. They used the Behavior Assessment System for Children, which measures the functions of social-emotional and behavioral skills based on the children’s teacher knowledge (BASC-2; Reynolds ; Kamphaus, 2004 as citied in Kim et el., 2018). The BASC-2 was tested while the children were in first grade and the teachers rated the children’s behavior through the past 4 weeks on a 4-point scale. Lastly, at the end of first grade, Kim et al. used the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, Second Edition, Brief Form (KTEA- II ; Kaufman & Kaufman, 2005, as citied in Kim et el., 2018) to estimate the children’s academic skills in mathematics, reading and written language.
At the prekindergarten and kindergarten level, only DA boys were tested to be associated with lower rating of adaptive behavior due to their skin color. This provided a negative correlation with academic achievement scores for around 2 to 3 years later in the first grade. However, skin color did not affect academic achievement in first grade for MA children and DA girls. Based on all these tests, while the children were in first grade, 36% of MA children and 20% of DA children were classified as delayed. Taking all the tests into consideration, boys were more likely to have lower academic achievements than girls. According to Duncan et al., 2007; Raver, 2002, (as cited in Kim et al., 2018) on average, boys had lower results of adaptive behavior and higher levels in aggression, which are strong indicators for long term success in school. DA boys had lower adaptive behavior compared to MA boys but, had similar ratings of aggression which were overall low (Weiss, Goebel, Page, Wilson, ; Warda, 1999; as citied in Kim et al., 2018). However, there were no differences between DA and MA girls in adaptive behavior and aggression. Based on this interpretation, researchers started to focus mostly on societal biases. The result of this interpretation concluded that DA boys were most vulnerable to phenotypicality bias in the schooling system.
According to Wang et al., (2018) the results for the students’ knowledge based on their academic performance and social engagements varies from gender and race/ethnicity. This study included 1103 students, 56% African American, 32% European American, 12 % biracial or other ethnic minorities and about 52% were girls. These adolescents were in the 9th grade when tested and went to either of the 23 public schools in a well diverse county in the East coast of the United States.
Wang (2011) describes school engagements as a complex mixture composed of 3 significant factors: behavior, emotion, and cognition. First, behavioral engagement is described as the process and methods that students uses towards learning in school. This includes attendance, completing classwork, and how engaged the students are in the classroom or other extracurricular activities. Next, emotional engagement is shown as a sense of belonging and welcoming into school. Lastly, cognitive engagement is referred to as how the students use their self-regulation skills and learning how to approach metacognitive strategies.
To test the adolescent’s behavioral engagement, Wang et al., used the Attentiveness subscale and the School Compliance subscale. The Attentiveness subscale was used to identify how often students got distracted, and if they had any difficulties finishing their work in class. The School Compliance subscale provided information on whether the adolescents were involved in unethical behaviors. For the emotional engagement, students were tested using the School Belonging scale and the Valuing of school Education. The School Belonging scales purpose was to express the adolescents personal feeling of being accepted and respected in their school setting. The Valuing School Education represented the adolescents’ priorities regarding the educational system. Lastly, cognitive engagement was tested based off the self-regulating learning scale and the cognitive strategy use scale. The self-regulating learning scale was used to identify whether the students can use their abilities of evaluation and abstract thinking. The Cognitive strategy use scale provided information to whether the students were understanding of the content of material taught to them in class and relating the material to different scenarios. The students were asked to rate themselves based on a scale from 5 to 1 (5 meaning almost always and 1 meaning almost never).
According to Johnson, Crosnoes, & Elder, 2001; Martin, 2004, 2007; Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990), as cited in Wang et al. (2011), girls are known to have more involvement in school engagements compared to boys. As for gender, Wang et al., (2018) found that girls scored higher in behavioral and emotional engagement compared to boys. However, boys scored higher in cognitive engagement than girls. Due to racial and ethnic differences, the outcomes provided that African American students scored higher in emotional engagement, but scored lower in behavioral engagement compared to European American students.