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The Impact Of Socioeconomic Status On Students' College Performance

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Socioeconomic status has an important role on how students perform on their college academics. According to researches educational institutions in the United States have the middle-class independence environment in institutions which sometimes create issue for the students form low socioeconomic class. Researchers claim that of higher education produce social class inequalities between students because they are built and have environment of middle- and upper-class cultural norms and rules. Low Socioeconomic students experience stereotype threat in middle-class college because of colleges’ environment, their own views towards colleges, different social class’ norms and can have impact on one’s academic performance and self-concept.

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Students from lower socioeconomic can perform poorer than other while studying in the middle-class colleges. One main reason behind is the adjustment of the low SES in the college where college’s environment does not seem more suitable for themselves. Croizet and Claire did a research on difference between the test performance of low SES and middle SES (1998). They find out that when they described as a measure of intellectual ability, low socioeconomic status (SES) performed less than high SES students but when they present it without any measurement of intellectual ability, low SES participants’ students did not have issues and performed better than before. This study showed that stereotyping about low socioeconomic ability effects on students even if they are good at the given task or have good academic performance.

Student from low socioeconomic class have different upbringing than the students from high socioeconomic class. As Lareau, Parents from working- or low social class families uses natural growth while parents from middle class used concerted cultivation. So, students form low socioeconomic class have been brought up with different techniques and norms than his peers and might not be able to feel connected within that environment. Difference in socioeconomic class and having hard time being able to fit in with environment and peers can lessen the opportunities to perform better than other students who have high SES. For low socioeconomic students’ higher education is new and unfamiliar environment and they can have difficulty embracing their new identity as college students with other high SES students. For Low SES students, difficulty to embrace new identity as college student increases the feelings of not belonging with environment. Some studies show that student from low‐SES students regularly report feeling like that they “do not belong” in the college context and setting. Feelings of being different and not belonging to environment have impact on academics and self-identity.

Students who come from low socioeconomic class might have entity mind about their abilities. There is possible reason that they think that their ability is fixed and cannot be changed. Thinking own self inferior than others can become a stereotype thread for low SES students in middle class college. Students can also face stereotype thread when teachers perceive the academic ability low because of SES class or previous academic performance. In the movie “Stand and Deliver” students from low SES class was far below from their grade level in conditions of academic skills and their teachers has assumptions that how they cannot be able to pass AP exams because of their low ability. Entity minded thinking of teachers or students themselves about their ability that it is fixed and cannot be changed effects low SES students’ performance which will lead to causing low grades than other SES classes. Teachers play an important role to reduce the stereotype threads for low socioeconomic students and can create an environment which is equal for every student and not make any student feel superior or inferior form other students. In an earlier research it was showed that if teachers give specific directions before test in which they describe the measure of abilities which will make doubtful low socioeconomic students about their abilities, they will perform worse than the students with high socioeconomic class (Croizet et. al 1998). If students and teachers both have incremental thinking and believe that one’s abilities are not fixed and can be changed and improved with time and practice, it will reduce the stereotype thread against low socioeconomic students in college and help them to achieve their academic goals with less struggle and difficulties.

Students from low socioeconomic class face a lot of psychological barriers in the college where most students are form middle class and environment is more appropriate and comfortable to middle class students. If students are not familiar to middle class college settings and have grown up in different environment it will take them time and during that time they struggle with lack of interest or motivation, negative self-concept and negative concepts towards college. Lack of interest in their academics will lead to low grades and according to the theory of interest if there will be not positive emotion relation between their grades and academic it will not encourage them to performance better or to mastery that subject.

The university educational system maintains the reproduction of social inequalities by having attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge that are more related with the practices of high‐SES families compares to low‐SES families. Higher socioeconomic class students have family members or friends who have university degrees and have more knowledge about the surroundings and connections with people in middle class universities so, a middle‐class upbringing is more likely to promote the perception environment which students are going into rather than threats which a low socioeconomic student can feel. So, when a student from low socioeconomic class comes to middle class-universities that not only have to focus on their academic but also have to adopt and fit in to the middle socioeconomic class culture. 

09 March 2021

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