Understanding differences in postsecondary educational attainment: A comparison of predictive measures for Black and White students

Marilyn Thompson, Joanna S. Gorin, Khawla Obeidat, Yi Hsin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


This study examines how student-level indicators - such as expectations for postsecondary education, academic achievement, participation in college preparatory tests, and student-parent communications - are related to postsecondary educational attainment for Black and White populations. Publicly available data for studying postsecondary attainment are described, and data from the College Board and the National Center for Education Statistics were analyzed to describe postsecondary educational attainment across ethnic groups. Following a univariate assessment of Black-White differences on potential predictors of attainment, multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine how these indicators collectively predict postsecondary attainment for Black and White students. When controlling for other predictors, gender was the strongest indicator of educational attainment among Black students, with females completing more postsecondary education than males; greater mathematics achievement and higher parental expectations were also predictive of higher postsecondary attainment. In contrast, for White students, higher student expectations and socioeconomic status (SES), along with greater mathematics achievement, were most predictive of postsecondary attainment in the full model. Substantive implications are discussed, along with design concerns for future studies of postsecondary attainment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-562
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Negro Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Anthropology

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