Aprile Benner Wins Exemplary Dissertation Award
Posted: March 13, 2009
Dr. Benner's dissertation examined the transition to high school in an ethnically-diverse, urban sample of 1,979 adolescents attending 11 Title I middle schools in California. Piecewise growth modeling results indicate that adolescents experienced disruptions in psychological functioning and grades with the transition to high school, and many continued to struggle throughout high school. The immediate experience of the transition appeared to be particularly challenging for African American and Latino students when the number of their co-ethnics declined significantly between middle school and high school. This research identifies a critical intervention point in at-risk students’ educational careers and highlights the need for specific tools for policy intervention as a way of addressing well-documented racial/ethnic differences in educational attainment that underlie corresponding disparities in income, wealth, fertility, and mortality in the U.S.
Exemplary Dissertation Award recipients are eligible to apply for a $25,000 grant to continue their research. Dr. Benner intends to pursue a policy study that examines support activities targeting students' transition to high school, the uptake and effects of such activities, and possible differential impacts by student race/ethnicity.