Annual convention summary

CSES co-sponsored two symposia

Hidden Curriculum—Nonacademic Determinants of Academic Success

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The symposium was co-sponsored by Teachers of Psychology at Secondary Schools (TOPSS), and marks the first collaboration between TOPSS and the Committee on Socioeconomic Status (CSES).  It was chaired by Kimberly Patterson, EdS, MS of Cypress Bay High School (Weston, Fla.) and CSES member Faye Reimers, PhD, of Texas Woman’s University. There were two participants: Frank C. Worrell, PhD, of the University of California, Berkeley and Heather E. Bullock, PhD, of the Dr. Faye Reimers of Texas Woman’s University presenting during the CSES-sponsored Hidden Curriculum– Nonacademic Determinants of Academic Success.University of California, -Santa Cruz.  CSES member Laura Smith, PhD, of Teachers College, Columbia University served as symposium discussant. 

Worrell’s presentation (“I did not know that I did not know”) and Bullock’s, presentation (“Classism in the Classroom: Identifying and Reducing Class-Based Exclusion”) provided rich data about the impact of social class and classism in our educational system and how it is most often “hidden” from discussion. 

“This class absence disadvantages lower income students and potential advocates among teachers and administrators, explains co-chair Reimers. "For example, the unspoken in an educational context: Lessons that are learned but not openly taught; norms, values, and beliefs conveyed in the classroom and the social environment; and the social structures of the classroom, and the teacher’s exercise of authority, rules governing the relations.

“We also do not talk about the learning that is built on the knowledge that we already have or the assumptions that teachers make about background knowledge – both contributing to the hidden curriculum. A critical piece in the non-academic determinants are the classist stereotypes about low-income students/parents that constantly contribute to a hostile learning environment and negative teacher expectancy. The classist norms that reproduce class hierarchies overvalue middle class students and devalue low-income students contribute to self-fulfilling prophecies and stereotype threats among economically disadvantaged students”.

Special Challenges Facing College Students—First-Generation Status and Poverty

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The symposium was chaired by Salvador Macias III, PhD of the University of South Carolina Sumter and chair of the APA Committee on SES, and Donna Alexander, PhD, of Rappahannock Community College and representative of the Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges (PT@CC). There were two participants: CSES member Cynthia Dr. Heather Bullock of the University of California Santa Cruz presenting during Hidden Curriculum-Nonacademic Determinants of SuccessHudley, PhD, of the University of California Santa Barbara, and Linda Petroff, PhD, MS of Central Community College. 2011 APA President Melba J.T. Vasquez, PhD, served as discussant. This symposium is the first formal collaboration between CSES and PT@CC. In addition, this year marks anniversaries  for both: CSES celebrates 5 years and PT@CC celebrates 10 years.

“One of the most important findings reported by participants is that, though it is probably true that there are particular challenges facing first generation college students with regard to achieving success in higher education, thus far it has been difficult to tease apart the specific impact of being the first in one's family to attend college from the more general and negative impact of economic impoverishment,” writes says Macias. “That is, though not all students from lower SES backgrounds are first generation, it is likely that most first generation students come from lower SES backgrounds.” 

Participants emphasized more research and evaluation must be conducted.