Academic resilience in mathematics among poor and minority students

Geoffrey D. Borman, Laura T. Overman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Based on national data from the Prospects study, we identified the individual characteristics that distinguished academically successful, or resilient, elementary school students from minority and low-socioeconomic-status (SES) backgrounds from their less successful, or nonresilient, counterparts. We also formulated and tested 4 models of the risk factors and resilience-promoting features of schools: (a) effective schools; (b) peer group composition; (c) school resources; and (d) the supportive school community model. Our results suggested that minority students from low-SES backgrounds were exposed to greater risks and fewer resilience-promoting conditions than otherwise similar low-SES White students. Results, though, generally supported the applicability of uniform individual- and school-level models of academic resiliency to all low-SES students, regardless of their race. Greater engagement in academic activities, an internal locus of control, efficaciousness in math, a more positive outlook toward school, and more positive self-esteem were characteristic of all low-SES students who achieved resilient mathematics outcomes. The most powerful school characteristics for promoting resiliency were represented by the supportive school community model, which, unlike the other school models, included elements that actively shielded children from adversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-195
Number of pages19
JournalElementary School Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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