Does Social Background Influence Political Science Grades?
Keywords:social background, political science grades, academic performance
This paper tests a hypothesized linear relationship between social background and final grades in several political science courses that I taught at the University of Central Arkansas. I employ a cross-sectional research design and ordinary least square (OLS) estimators to test the foregoing hypothesis. Relying on a sample of up to 204 undergraduate students that I taught in 2008 and 2009, and controlling for attendance, GPA, gender, test scores, and number of credit hours, I found no linear relationship between social background and grades. A notable finding of this paper is that the social backgrounds of students born to families of lower and moderate education and their political science grades have a curvilinear relationship. In addition, there seems to be no relationship between the social background of students who come from families of higher education and their grades. On the other hand, students' class attendance and GPA seem to have positive influences on their final grades. Gender and students' number of credit hours are not, however, related to students' final grades.
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