The current study is an extension of Luster & McAdoo's 1994 study of African American children and ecological factors impacting academic performance of these children. Luster and McAdoo found that maternal educational level, income, number of children and living conditions were related to how well children performed in school. Those children from impoverished backgrounds with uneducated mothers had lower quality academic performance. Using the Nation Longitudinal Survey of Youth data (1992), the current study investigated similarities and differences in the impact of ecological factors in European American(n = 266) and African American adolescents (n = 400). The results indicated that the home environment best predicts academic performance in African American adolescents while neighborhood conditions are better predictors of academic performance in European American adolescents. This difference may be related to the function of education for the two groups. Education may be a vehicle for status enhancement for European American adolescents. For African Americans, education may enhance class but not social status associated with racial minority status. These results suggest that educational efforts be developed to assist all adolescent in achieving both status and class objectives.

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