Cultural Discontinuity: Toward a Quantitative Investigation of a Major Hypothesis in Education

Jun. 15, 2008

Source:  Educational Researcher, Vol. 37, No. 5, 280-297 (2008)

Education researchers have suggested that the academic challenges faced by many ethnic minority students are linked to perceived cultural discontinuity between students’ home- and school-based experiences. However, there has been very little empirical inquiry into the existence and effects of cultural discontinuity for these students. The purpose of this article is to offer a definition and methodology to be used in the quantitative investigation of cultural discontinuity. A description of the cultural values and corresponding behaviors of African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American students, along with those values and behaviors salient in most public schools, is offered. Next, a method for investigating cultural discontinuity is proposed. Finally, future research directions to further examine cultural discontinuity are offered.

Updated: Sep. 17, 2008