McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Jose Rios

Major and Classification


Faculty Mentor

  • Miranda Barone, Ph.D.


  • Psychology

McNair Project

Beyond Teacher Expectations: The Role High School Curriculum Plays in Regards to Different Academic Performances

Using the stereotype threat model, the present pilot study investigates the phenomenon of fundamental schooling in Santa Ana California since its emergence in 2005. The author hypothesized that there is an association between lower college expectations among traditional versus fundamental high school students due to different teacher expectations and school curriculum. Using self-efficacy, self-esteem, and life orientation surveys the analysis found that on average, traditional high school students have lower college expectations and lower self-efficacy/self-esteem beliefs compared to fundamental high school students. Teacher interviews at both school types also found that fundamental high school teachers have greater student expectations in regards to career development and college pursuit. Deeper evaluation of the findings suggests that the difference in school curriculums, mission statements, and teacher expectations might be the cause for this educational inequality. Due to these differences, there are negative stereotypical views among the two types of students. Implications for this study suggest for a re-evaluation of the educational policy in Santa Ana in regards to giving the entire community of students an equal chance to pursue higher education.