Predictors of educational attainment in the Chicago Longitudinal Study

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The authors investigated a comprehensive set of predictors of high school completion and years of completed education for youth in the Chicago Longitudinal Study, an ongoing investigation of over 1500 low-income, minority children who grew up on high-poverty neighborhoods. The study sample included 1286 youth for whom educational attainment could be determined by age 20. Predictors were measured from birth to high school from participant surveys and administrative records on educational and family experiences as well as demographic attributes. Results from regression analyses indicated that the model explained 30.4% of the variance in years of completed school. The model also predicted accurately 73.3% of youths' observed high school completion status and 72.6% of their high school graduation status. The strongest predictors of educational attainment were maternal educational attainment, school absences and mobility, grade retention, and youth's educational expectations. Findings indicate that students' expectation and school mobility are targets of intervention that can promote children's educational persistence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10.1037/1045-3830.23.2.199
Pages (from-to)199-229
Number of pages31
JournalSchool Psychology Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • at-risk youth
  • educational attainment
  • predictors
  • urban education


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