Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Educational Leadership PhD

First Advisor

James A. Tucker

Second Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Third Advisor

Eliseu N. Menegusso

Abstract

This study investigated the possible relationships among socioeconomic characteristics as factors influencing the success levels of Brazilian students. Data were provided by the 2002 Exame Nacional de Cursos [National Examination of Study Programs], or ENC , in five cursos . For this study, the following programs, representing three levels of prestige, were selected: low (Modern Letters and History), middle (Law), and high (Medicine and Dentistry). The purpose was to gain a deeper understanding of the issues associated with relationships among various socioeconomic characteristics, as well as to gain a more global understanding of the implications of the socioeconomic process as a whole. The following variables were selected: gender, socioeconomic status (family income), parents' education, and race/color.

Method. I used the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, or SPSS, with an emphasis in the AnswerTree module. Probability-concepts were also used, along with bi-dimensional graphic representation and analysis. Students were designated as belonging to one of two groups: (a) the high score group, or students who obtained a general score above the 75th percentile on the ENC , and (b) the low score group, or students who obtained a general score below the 25th percentile on the ENC.

Results. This study demonstrated that both the AnswerTree test and the Probability calculations point to similar conclusions: (a) Race is not a significant variable to define either low or high scores, with the one exception being for Mulattos in Medicine; (b) gender, family income, and parents' education are significant for both low and high scores for low prestige cursos ; (c) family income and parents' education are significantly associated with middle prestige careers; and (d) none of the independent variables are related to low or high scores for high-prestige careers.

Conclusion. More privileged students tend to get higher scores in low-prestige cursos. Less privileged students tend to get lower scores in low-prestige cursos. Public high-school students tend to choose low-prestige cursos and students from private high-schools tend to choose high-prestige cursos. The selection process excludes those who are not as well prepared for the entrance exam (vestibular) and those from lower socioeconomic levels are not as well prepared.

Subject Area

Educational indicators, Students--Economic conditions, Students--Social conditions, Education, Higher--Economic aspects, Education, Higher--Social aspects

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