Undergraduate Honors Thesis


The Impact of a Student’s Familial, Socioeconomic, and Educational Background on Academic Performance Public Deposited

Alternative Title
  • This study uses a sample of 461 undergraduate University of Colorado, Boulder students who attended public high schools in the United States to examine the relationships between demographic and academic variables, with a focus on predicting the academic achievement gap (AAG). Existing literature documents an AAG based on race, primarily between White students and Black students, but too often other potentially contributing or masking variables are not accounted for; thus, these models may be limited. In this study, the outcome variable, academic achievement, was measured with a normed SAT/ACT score. Consistent with other research, the current study found a significant racial AAG in bivariate analyses; however, controlling for other variables, race did not reach the p < 0.05 (although it almost did) and students’ perceptions of how well their high schools prepared them for college and their family income were the two strongest and only significant predictors of an AAG. Thus, results indicate a concerning prevalence of an AAG by race and between students of different socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. Moreover, the multivariate analysis findings indicate that the racial AAG is primarily due to socioeconomic factors such as high school students’ family incomes and the quality of their public schools. The findings from this research are discussed in terms of addressing the systemic issues within the U.S. educational system and directions for future research on the AAG.

Date Awarded
  • 2020-11-02
Academic Affiliation
Committee Member
Granting Institution
Last Modified
  • 2020-11-10
  • Academic Achievement Gap
Resource Type
Rights Statement
  • Horwitz, A. (2020). <i>The impact of a student’s familial, socioeconomic, and educational background on academic performance.</i> University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.


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