This collection examines the ongoing social dynamic between peer relations and academic achievement, bringing together the latest thinking from prominent scholars in anthropology, psychology, sociology, and education. These expert contributors:
Address two key questions overlooked in the literature on Mexican-descent youth: In what ways do peers and peer relationships influence the school performance of Mexican-origin high school youth? In what ways do schools participate in structuring these peer relationships?
Provide a theoretical discussion of the concept of "peer social capital" and the ways in which relationships among students can help to promote school achievement.
Present six new studies that analyze the diverse types of peer interactions and influences in various school settings between Mexican-descent youth and their non-Mexican peers as well as among Mexican-descent youth themselves.
Link prior analyses with recommendations for policy and practice, indicating where findings may be applied to the critical issue of raising the school achievement of a significantly underachieving portion of the American youth population.
Margaret A. Gibson is Professor of Education and Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Patricia G ndara is Professor of Education at the University of California at Davis. Jill Peterson Koyama is a doctoral student in Anthropology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.