Assessing the "mismatch" hypothesis: Differences in college graduation rates by institutional selectivity

Sigal Alon, Marta Tienda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This article evaluates the "mismatch" hypothesis, advocated by opponents of affirmative action, which predicts lower graduation rates for minority students who attend selective post-secondary institutions than for those who attend colleges and universities where their academic credentials are better matched to the institutional average. Using two nationally representative longitudinal surveys and a unique survey of students who were enrolled at selective and highly selective institutions, the authors tested the mismatch hypothesis by implementing a robust methodology that jointly considered enrollment in and graduation from selective institutions as interrelated outcomes. The findings do not support the "mismatch" hypothesis for black and Hispanic (as well as white and Asian) students who attended college during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-315
Number of pages22
JournalSociology of Education
Volume78
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2005

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