Will it matter who I’m in school with? Differential influence of collective expectations on urban and rural US schools

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Aside from a student’s personal desire to pursue higher education, a culture of high expectations in a school can have important consequences on the individual’s achievement. However, the school’s ‘collective expectation’ is affected by many contextual factors like urbanicity. Contributing to the research on urban-rural difference in education and nuancing the importance of having a culture of high expectations, this research examines how collective expectations affect student achievement differently in urban and rural schools. Using hierarchical linear models of a longitudinal sample of US high school students, the research shows how collective expectations have significant influence on short- and long-term outcomes of urban school students, but no significant ones on rural school students. It suggests the importance of shared expectations in urban schools, and how expectations – both individual and collective – can be leveraged to help students.