Reaching Out, Reaching In
Edited by Viva Ona Bartkus and James H. Davis
Chapter 5: Social Capital Effects on Student Outcomes
149 as well as what student behaviors they inﬂuence. I would have to determine whether schools and intergenerational social networks vary in the strength of the norms governing academic achievement. As if all this were not enough of a challenge, it would be essential to know whether the information parents receive through their links with other networks is relevant to their children’s schooling. If so, one might be seeing the eﬀect of networks with structural holes rather than intergenerational social closure in student academic achievement outcomes. I also had to determine whether the school is the correct unit of analysis. Parents and students in a school community rarely belong to a single, large social network. Rather, several parent and student networks usually exist within the context of a particular school. Some of these various networks may be densely connected, others loosely. Some may exhibit intergenerational social closure, others consist solely of parents or of students. Some may have links to individuals or groups outside the school while others may not. Based on the diﬀerences between networks, the correct unit of analysis may be smaller than the entire school. Given these realities, I kept the analyses descriptive, inferential and extremely focused. The primary independent variable is a social capital factor measuring network density among students, their friends and their friends’ parents. The dependent variable, student Reading or Mathematics achievement, is measured as change in scale score from seventh to eighth grade on the Terra Nova test in English...
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