Thursday, August 2, 4:30-5:00, SUB Ballroom D, Theme: Students

Rural students’ educational and occupational attainment are related.  Many factors influence attainment in these areas for rural students such as socioeconomic status, high school achievement, resources available in rural schools, parental expectations and educational attainment, exposure and proximity to post-secondary institutions, and the careers available in local communities.  As the 2016 U.S. presidential election highlighted stark value differences among residents living in urban, suburban, and rural communities, it is worthwhile to examine the values of rural adolescents and how they relate to young adult educational and occupational outcomes.

This study incorporates ELS:2002 (N=16,200), a longitudinal study of adolescents and young adults in the United States, to examine rural adolescents’ educational and occupational values in an attempt to answer the following research questions.  What are the educational and occupational values of rural adolescents?  Are the values (educational and occupational) of rural adolescents significantly different from their urban and suburban counterparts?  Furthermore, do educational and occupational values in adolescence relate to educational and occupational attainment in young adulthood?

Results of weighted descriptive analyses suggest that rural adolescents feel that being an expert in their field of work and getting a good education are important.  Moreover, results of weighted ordered regression analyses suggest differences in values of getting a good education and being an expert in the field of work between adolescents growing up in rural and urban communities. There were no significant differences between suburban and rural adolescents.  Based on these preliminary findings, we will conduct weighted regression analyses to examine if the value of education/being an expert in the field of work predicts educational/occupational attainment in young adulthood.

This research has the potential to enhance our current understanding of rural students' educational and occupational attainment by exploring how adolescent values relate to young adult outcomes.