Gender Differences in Factors Leading to College Enrollment:
A Longitudinal Analysis
Maria Estela Zarate and Ronald Gallimore
In this article, Maria Estela Zarate and Ronald Gallimore identify factors that predicted college enrollment for Latino and Latina students. Using data from a 15-year study of randomly recruited Latino and Latina youth (primarily second-generation Mexican Americans), they found that different factors were associated with their college enrollment. For Latinos, academic achievement (as measured by standardized tests), parental factors, and language proficiency consistently predicted their college enrollment. In contrast, for Latinas, teacher-rated classroom performance and pursuit of college counseling in high school were consistently significant predictors for college enrollment. These findings contrast with dominant college-attainment models and pose questions about how school agents might influence educational outcomes for Latinas. While their quantitative analyses exposed gender differences in factors that led to college enrollment, the authors conclude that future research should use a qualitative approach to explore how and why gender differences exist. Zarate and Gallimore speculate that nonacademic factors, such as interaction with parents and teachers, may explain the absence of a consistent predictive power of test scores for Latina college enrollment.
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