A comparison of the educational attitudes of eighth-grade students of Portland, Oregon : urban black and urban white Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/br86b608p

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  • This study was based on the assumption that urban black students hold more positive attitudes and opinions toward teachers, school, and education than urban white students. The black students were from schools with a high concentration of lower-to-middle-class students and the white students were from schools with a high concentration of middle-to-upper-middle-class students. Both sets of students were from the metropolitan school district of Portland, Oregon. The purpose of this study was to compare differences in the educational attitudes and opinions of these two groups of students. In meeting this objective, it was first necessary to construct an appropriate survey-instrument composed of three separate scales of attitudes and opinions toward (a) teachers, (b) school, and (c) education. The instrument was comprised of thirty-three statements: eleven items having to do with teachers, eighteen items having to do with school, and four items having to do with education. Based on Portland Public Schools' academic and demographic data, eight schools were selected to participate in the study. Four schools had a high concentration of black students from lower-to-middle-class families and four schools had a high concentration of white students from middle-to-upper-middle-class families. A total of 213 eighth-grade students (100 black students and 113 white students) completed the attitude and opinion questionnaire during the week of April 21, 1975. Questionnaires were scored, allowing one point for each positive response, and no points for each negative or for no response. Appropriate statistical tests were used: three Student's "t" tests in testing differences of means between the two groups were applied to total, teacher, and school scores; and four Chi-Square tests in testing differences between the two groups were applied to four items having to do with the concept of education. In all tests, the .05 level of significance was used. The findings of the statistical tests revealed that these two racially- and socio-economically-different groups of students held essentially the same attitudes and opinions toward school and education. The tests, however, revealed that "the white group" was more positive toward teachers than "the black group," and that "the black group" was slightly more positive toward the concept of education than "the white group." Both sets of students responded equally toward statements concerning school. The assumption that "the black group" held more positive attitudes and opinions toward the composite of the concepts of teachers, school, and education was rejected. Because these two sets of students were from different racial and socio-economic backgrounds, the findings that they both valued school and education positively and almost equally is of importance. As pointed out by the literature, social class is not a determining factor in attitudes and opinions toward schooling. Based on this study, at least for these two groups of students, it was concluded that race does not influence attitudes toward school and education.
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