American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 52, Issue 1–2, pp 41–55 | Cite as

It Takes a Village: The Effects of 10th Grade College-Going Expectations of Students, Parents, and Teachers Four Years Later

  • Anne GregoryEmail author
  • Francis Huang
Original Article


Adolescents are surrounded by people who have expectations about their college-going potential. Yet, few studies have examined the link between these multiple sources of college-going expectations and the actual status of students in postsecondary education years later. The study draws on data collected in the 2002–2006 Educational Longitudinal Study and employs an underutilized statistical technique (cross-classified multilevel modeling) to account for teacher reports on overlapping groups of students (typical of high school research). Results showed that positive expectations of students, parents, English, and mathematics teachers in the 10th grade each uniquely predicted postsecondary status 4 years later. As a group, the four sources of expectations explained greater variance in postsecondary education than student characteristics such as socioeconomic status and academic performance. This suggests positive expectations are additive and promotive for students regardless of their risk status. Teacher expectations were also found to be protective for low income students. Implications for future expectancy research and equity-focused interventions are discussed.


Adolescents Expectations Postsecondary education Cross-classified multilevel modeling 



This research was supported by a grant from the American Education Research Association which receives funds from its “AERA grants program” from the National Science Foundation under its NSF Grant #DRL-0941014. Opinions reflect those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the granting agencies. The authors would also like to thank Rhona S. Weinstein for her contribution to the study.


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Copyright information

© Society for Community Research and Action 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA
  2. 2.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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