The changing structure of the economy in the United States makes having an education more important than ever before. Now, more than ever, the level of education one attains is an important determinant of socioeconomic status and social mobility. Educational attainment is not simply a matter of how far one goes in the educational process. Rather, it is a process influenced by various factors.
First, the subject of educational attainment and the factors affecting it were the focus of research for Wilson and Portes. In a research article, Wilson and Portes examined nationwide data received from 2,000 tenth grade boys. After several years of interviews, they found that two of the most important factors of educational attainment was an individual’s socioeconomic status and self-image. Also, they discovered that social institutions use these two factors to either encourage or discourage an individual to achieve additional educational attainment.
Subsequently, the subject of educational attainment and the factors affecting this process are addressed in Owen’s research. This study consisted of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data on 11,097 students from 77 different schools (295). Results showed that neighborhood socioeconomic status was a factor in the educational attainment process. Students from low-income neighborhoods were found to perform best around more low SES children. They also found when low-income students attended school with students from wealthier neighborhoods it had a negative impact on self- images and academic performance, thus decreasing their chances of graduating high school. Conversely, they found that when students from high SES communities attended high school with students from similar neighborhoods, they were more likely to complete high school (300,305).
Results from this study showed that neighborhood socioeconomic status was a more important factor for educational attainment for...