The Impact of Race and Socioeconomic Status on the Reading Comprehension Growth Trajectories of Adolescents

No Thumbnail Available
Pickens, Tyra Williams
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of the current study was to examine features of adolescent reading comprehension trajectories and make within-person and between-person analyses of growth that occurs during the high school grades. Racial and socioeconomic group differences of the adolescent reading trajectories were also investigated and compared. This examination allowed the researcher to make inferences regarding the extent to which sociocultural factors impact reading proficiency as adolescents advance through the upper grades. The sample consisted of 225 students in grades 8, 9, and 10 who attended an urban high school in the southeastern region of the United States. Within the sample, 39% of the students self-identified as Caucasian, 42% as African-American, 9% as Hispanic, and 10% as multiracial. Approximately 29% of the total sample qualified for reduced-price lunch. Latent growth curve modeling was performed through AMOS v21 to determine model fit and growth parameters of the reading trajectories. Overall adolescent reading trajectories exemplified linear growth, and demonstrated a negative correlation between the intercept and slope parameters. This confirmed that students with lower starting reading abilities experienced more rapid growth during adolescence, indicating a narrowing reading achievement gap during the high school years. Racial association and socioeconomic status had a significant impact on the intercept, but no significant impact on the reading growth trajectories. This finding revealed that students of different racial associations and socioeconomic levels experience equivalent reading comprehension growth during adolescence.
Adolescent reading, Race, Socioeconomic status