Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center. Page: 38
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underachievement by minority students is related to several barriers that have been identified by
various research studies of minority achievement in education and higher education: poverty,
schools with inadequate resources, racial and ethnic prejudices, limited educational resources of
families and communities, and cultural differences. In particular, the Task Force found that
school and family instability is one of the greatest poverty-related obstacles to high achievement
among minority students. Poorer families tend to move more frequently than more well-off
families, resulting in disruption of education. This disruption at the lowest levels of education
has domino effects, even reaching into graduate-level education, because once a student falls
behind, it is nearly impossible for him or her to catch up. A high turnover of students also affects
those students who don't move, because the curriculum slows down for all, not just those coming
and going. Teachers are often less experienced at poorer schools in all levels, have fewer
credentials, and come and go more quickly. The Task Force also asserted that differences in the
educational level of parents is a significant source of the achievement gap. Research (Schmidt,
2003) has shown that parents who earn college degrees are more likely to support their children's
educational attainment than parents with a high school education or less. Well-educated parents
are more able to help their students with coursework and provide enrichment opportunities to
help their children succeed. Lowered expectations of minority students by teachers, lack of self-
confidence by the students themselves because of negative stereotypes, and lowered academic
effort by the students because of a belief that success in school is only for white or Asian
students were ways that lowered expectations in educating minority students (National Task
Force, 1997). The Task Force also found that cultural differences do contribute to achievement
gaps, including a lack of culturally-friendly experiences for students in the curriculum as well as
differences in how communities and families support student success at all levels.
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Colley, Kay Lynne. Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center., dissertation, May 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3687/m1/48/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .