Reaching Out, Reaching In
Edited by Viva Ona Bartkus and James H. Davis
Chapter 5: Social Capital Effects on Student Outcomes
5. Social capital eﬀects on student outcomes Maureen T. Hallinan1 The primary goal of this chapter is to test James Coleman’s hypothesis that social capital, in the form of intergenerational social closure, increases student achievement. To test this hypothesis, I conducted both descriptive and inferential analyses on a longitudinal set of data in Catholic schools in Chicago. Surprisingly, the analyses did not show that networks of intergenerational social closure increase student academic achievement, either overall or indirectly. Instead, they indicated that networks of intergenerational closure increased liking for school and other non-academic variables. Networks with social closure have a statistically signiﬁcant, positive eﬀect on feeling able to count on neighborhood adults for safety, trusting people in the neighborhood, participating in school clubs or organizations, believing it important to help others in the community, attending religious services, and feeling safe in school. They have a statistically signiﬁcant, negative eﬀect on the number of times a student is sent to the principal’s oﬃce. A multitude of deﬁnitions exist for social capital, ranging from tight deﬁnitions used within very speciﬁc situations to broad-based concepts that can apply to a wide variety of social contexts. Given the focus of this chapter, I will be using Coleman’s deﬁnition (1990): social capital is a product of social structure that produces beneﬁts. Coleman’s initial fascination with the dynamics of structure and change in social systems led him to social capital and empirical analyses of schools as...
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