Collective Expectations Protecting and Preventing Academic Achievement

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High academic expectation—how far a student expects to get in school—is usually predictive of positive outcomes for a student. Yet less is known about mechanisms behind collective expectation: the proportion of students in a school who expect to pursue further studies. Using urban schools’ data from the Education Longitudinal Study 2002, this research examines how collective expectations affect short-term and long-term outcomes, and the predictors of these expectations. Through hierarchical linear models, I find that collective expectations are positively associated with academic outcomes, and that individual expectations remain significant even after controlling for socioeconomic status. I argue that the results illustrate how school structural and economic forces interact with collective expectations in protecting or preventing personal academic attainment.