About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3019-3029
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

ITS ALL IN HOW YOU FRAME IT: THE EFFECT OF INEQUALITY FRAMING ON THE ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT OF COLLEGE STUDENTS

D. Wout

John Jay College (UNITED STATES)
There are vast differences in educational outcomes among social groups in the United States. For example, in 2003 while forty-two percent of Whites aged 18 to 24 participated in post-secondary education, only thirty-two percent of Blacks and twenty-four percent of Latinos did the same (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2005). In fields that rely heavily on mathematics, discrepancies also exist between men and women. For instance, while women earn more bachelor’s degrees than men, they account for only about a third of the bachelor’s degrees confirmed in mathematics and computer sciences (National Science Foundation, 1999). Similarly, in 2001, although women earned fifty-seven percent of bachelors degrees overall, they only earned twenty percent of engineering degrees (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2004).

These racial and gender differences can result in ethnic minorities and women psychologically disengaging from academics—detaching their self-esteem from external academic feedback or outcomes (Major and Schmader, 1998, p. 220; cf. Crocker & Major, 1989; Major, Spencer, Schmader, Wolfe, & Crocker, 1998; Schmader, Major, & Gramzow, 2001). While disengagement from academic outcomes might protect students’ self-esteem from negative feedback, over time it might also reduce identification with, and persistence in, academics (Crocker & Major, 1989; Lesko & Corpus, 2006; C. Steele, 1992, 1997).

The present studies demonstrate that social inequality does not always lead to subordinate-group disengagement. Rather, the manner in which the inequality is framed, either as the subordinate group is disadvantaged or as the dominant group is advantaged, can moderate the effect of group inequality on psychological disengagement. Specifically, we contend that inequality framed as subordinate-group disadvantage will cause subordinate group members to psychologically disengage and dominant group members to engage. In contrast, inequality framed as dominant-group advantage will enable subordinate groups to remain engaged and cause dominant groups to disengage.

Studies 1a and 1b demonstrate that Black students disengage when academic inequality was framed as their group being disadvantage, but not when the inequality was framed as White students being advantaged. Study 2 demonstrates that women disengage from math when gender inequality in math is framed either as female disadvantaged or when the inequality is not given a frame, but remain engaged when the inequality is framed as male advantaged. In contrast, men remain engaged in math when gender inequality is framed as either female disadvantage or when the inequality is not given a frame, but disengage when the inequality is framed as male advantage. Study 3 demonstrates that racial identity moderated the effect of framing on disengagement for Whites, such that a White advantage frame causes only highly identified Whites to disengage. Collectively, these studies suggest that people disengage when inequality is framed in regards the ingroup, but remain engaged when inequality is framed in regards to the outgroup.

@InProceedings{WOUT2009ITS,
author = {Wout, D.},
title = {ITS ALL IN HOW YOU FRAME IT: THE EFFECT OF INEQUALITY FRAMING ON THE ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT OF COLLEGE STUDENTS},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {3019-3029}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Wout
TI - ITS ALL IN HOW YOU FRAME IT: THE EFFECT OF INEQUALITY FRAMING ON THE ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT OF COLLEGE STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 3019
EP - 3029
ER -
D. Wout (2009) ITS ALL IN HOW YOU FRAME IT: THE EFFECT OF INEQUALITY FRAMING ON THE ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT OF COLLEGE STUDENTS, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 3019-3029.
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