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ERIC Number: EJ798217
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 44
ISSN: ISSN-0162-5748
The Contradictory Roles of Institutional Status in Retaining Underrepresented Minorities in Biomedical and Behavioral Science Majors
Chang, Mitchell J.; Cerna, Oscar; Han, June; Saenz, Victor
Review of Higher Education, v31 n4 p433-464 Sum 2008
This study examines factors that contribute to the chances of retaining underrepresented minority (URM) students in an undergraduate biomedical or behavioral science major. Of particular interest is the extent to which institutional status, as related to undergraduate selectivity, student perceptions, and other institutional characteristics, affects those chances of retention, given that this issue is relevant to current policy debates regarding access to quality higher education. Policies such as race-conscious admissions practices, for example, attempt to increase the proportion of URM students attending the most selective colleges and universities. The authors employ two differing theoretical viewpoints about the impact of such policies on college students' chances of academic success to inform and frame this study. According to anticipatory socialization theory, attending "higher status" institutions should improve one's chances of persisting. Conversely, the "mismatch hypothesis" claims that URM students lower their odds of achieving their initial educational goals when they attend highly selective institutions where the White and Asian students are academically better prepared. By extension, applying race-conscious admissions in higher education mismatches URM students and dampens their academic or career aspirations. This study empirically examines this running debate in the context of concerns raised about the nation's capacity to fulfill science-related interests, especially as they relate to the growing presence of the racial/ethnic minority populations in U.S. society. Findings indicate that all students, irrespective of their race, academic preparation, or motivation, are at greater risk of failing among high achievers at highly selective institutions where the undergraduate student body is mostly White and Asian. (Contains 3 tables and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Cited: ED544470