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The college readiness and college outcomes of White and Latino students : an invariance testing approach

Baharav, Hadar
Degree Supervisor:
Richard P. Duran
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Education, Higher
College readiness
Structural equation modeling
Postsecondary education
College persistence
Invariance testing
Latino students
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2014

It has long been documented that not all students succeed in college despite being identified college-ready by college admission. Possibly, traditional measures of college readiness, such as class rank and scores on generally accepted standardized exams, fail to adequately represent the knowledge, skills, and attributes that are required by students to realize college graduation. Furthermore, gaps in postsecondary outcomes between White and Latino students are well-known and are persistent even when comparisons are kept within one postsecondary level. Conceivably, the differences in home backgrounds and high school environments experienced by Latino and White students distinctively influence their college readiness.

Utilizing a national representative sample (ELS: 2002), this two-study research attempted to compare White and Latino students on: (1) college readiness means, (2) college outcomes as predicted by college readiness, and (3) student and high school background factors contributing to students' readiness for college. At the core of the research, college readiness was conceptualized as a multifaceted, second-order factor, and the measurement and structural parameters of the model were tested for their invariance across groups.

Results indicated that the measurement model was not invariant across subgroups. Therefore, Latinos and Whites were not compared on their college readiness means. Nevertheless, differences were noted in the means of the first-order factors, almost exclusively against the Latino students, suggesting Latino students fall short on some college-relevant competencies. Expectedly, Latinos were more likely than Whites to not advance their education beyond high school, and Whites were more likely to attend 4-year colleges (Study 1). Nonetheless, despite their allegedly lesser capacity, Latinos' patterns of persistence into the second year at 4-year institutions were comparable to those of Whites (Study 2). Differences were noted in the contribution of various background factors to the two groups' college readiness.

In conclusion, strengthening the college expectations of Latino students and improving the high schools they attend may help increase their participation in the postsecondary system. Furthermore, developing and validating a comprehensive measure of college readiness and implementing such a measure as a formative tool in schools may facilitate students' advancement toward college readiness and meaningfully increase successful postsecondary participation.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (143 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Hadar Baharav
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