Relationships between college knowledge and college-going beliefs of eighth grade students.
The present study examined the relationships of college knowledge and parent education level with these college-going beliefs: (a) self-efficacy, (b) outcome expectations, (c) likelihood both to go to and graduate from college, (d) choice intentions, and (e) educational goals of eighth grade students. Social Cognitive Career Theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) provided the theoretical framework. Data collected included the following instruments: College-Going Self-Efficacy Scale (Gibbons, 2005), College-Going Outcome Expectations Scale - Positive (Gibbons, 2005), Career Expectation and Intentions Scale - Revised (Betz & Voyten, 1997) and the Texas College Knowledge Inventory (TCKI) (Wisely, 2012), a revision of the North Carolina College Knowledge Inventory, (NCCKI) (GEAR UP, 2008). The study defined parent education level as one of two conditions: either one or both parents had more than a high school education, or parent(s) did not have more than a high school education. Participants included 324 inner-city public middle school students from a school district in central Texas. Ninety percent of the sample were on free and reduced lunch; 54% were female (46% male); 68% were Hispanic, 24% African American, 8% White, 1% other; and 51.5% were prospective first-generation college students (48.5% non-first-generation). Simple linear regression analyses indicate that, in general, college knowledge accounted for between 1-10% of the variance, while parent education level accounted for up to 2% of the variance in college-going beliefs. Although analyses failed to detect an interaction effect between the predictors, including both predictors in the model was an improvement over either predictor model alone, accounting for up to 11% of the variance. Multinomial logistic regression determined that increasing college knowledge or parent education level greatly improved the odds of a student choosing educational goals of four-year institutions or graduate school over the educational goal of high school or less. A secondary purpose of the study was to assess the TCKI as a tool to measure college knowledge. Implications of these findings extend to school personnel, researchers and public policy advocates.