Faculty Advisor

Wilkes, John M.


This project is a study of the aspirations of the poorest students (who got a free lunch) in Worcester Public School (WPS) regarding higher education. We also wanted to know if the different ethnic backgrounds from the lower social class students affected their aspirations towards continuing their studies. The data from the WPS classes of 1998, 1999, and 2000 were analyzed with the students who had a free lunch plan numbering about 887 for the 3 years combined. Our theory was that aspirations toward study in the future would depend on social economic status (SES) and the [sic] ethnicity. The free lunch data was a way of presenting the social economic status based on our dataset, but of course it removed SES from the study as a variable to focus on the low income group. Then parents' education and student aspiration come [sic] to the forefront of our theorizing. We decided that Asians would turn to education as a strategy to succeed more than poor Whites or Blacks. Hispanics we had no theory about. In fact, poor whites and Asians were similar in their aspiration and Blacks were more likely to go to some kind of college than Hispanics. The race and language were used to represent their ethnicity.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2004

Project Type

Interactive Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Social Science and Policy Studies