A Focus on Educucation
A Focus on Educucation
American students aspireto getgood grades and succeed in college (Rosenbaum, Deil-Amen, & Person 2006; Trusty, 2000). This is true across the socioeconomic spectrum (for a review, see Oyserman, 2013). American parents share these goals. They have high educational aspirations and expectations for their children even if their own educational and economic attainments are low (Entwisle et al., 2005; Kim, Sherraden, & Clancy, 2012; Madeira, 2009). Parental. In this paper I do not distinguish between aspirations and expectations. This is in contrast to other researchers who find it useful to make that distinction, with an aspiration involving hopes and dreams (e.g., “if you could be anything at all, what would you most hope and want to be?”) and an expectation involving subjective estimation of what is actually possible (e.g., “if you had to bet money on it, what will you be?”). Logically, the two are different. Hopes will be higher than expectations, since expectations imply that one could really do it and hopes imply only that one would want it to transpire. Researchers also assume that expectations are more likely to be linked to behavior than hopes, in part because expectations involve predictions of one’s own competence. An expectation is something one believes one has the skills and competence to attain; in that sense it is akin to how the term efficacy, or self-efficacy, is used. In education, expectancy-value theories (e.g., Wigfield & Eccles, 2000) predict that people will take action to attain valued school outcomes if they expect that they have the skills to attain these outcomes. Because aspirations are not defined as being linked to skills, within a value-expectancy framework, they are less central. Although all of these arguments are compelling, as I outline next, the parents and children who respond to surveys and are of interest to us here do not seem to be following this logic. The way that data on aspirations and expectations are collected in survey research is typically to ask children and their parents, first, how far they would ideally like to go in school and, second, how far they realistically expect to go in school.
Keywords: Aspiration-attainment gap, Cigarette smoking, Economically disadvantaged students, Fidelity, Interventions, Message-undermining reactance, Positivity bias, Reactance, Self-serving biases, Temporal distance
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