Dissertation: Hector Topete

Cohort 1, published 2010

Title

The Relationship Between Peer Perceptions and Grades among Latino High School Students: Myth or Reality?

Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationship between peer perceptions and grades among Latino high school students in an urban high school in the Sacramento, California area. The study determined the nature of the relationship, i.e., positive and/or negative; the degree of influence peer perceptions had on Latino students’ grades; and how various factors contributed to this relationship, i.e., popularity, respect, self-image, extracurricular activities and peer social capital, oppositional culture (“acting white”), and importance of grades. The main instruments were a student survey and analyses of student GPA data (self-reported and actual). Descriptive and inferential statistics were used. Considering the severity of California’s underperformance and dropout rates among Latino students, an increased understanding about this issue will serve to identify possible solutions. This study looked at one possible aspect contributing to this academic underperformance. Some of the findings included oppositional culture tendencies among the lower grades (9th and 10th); positive perceptions of academic achievement among female students; positive linkages between extracurricular activities, peer social capital, and grades; and a negative relationship between peer popularity and GPA. Other findings also provided qualitative depth to this quantitative study.

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