Perceptions of academic achievement barriers and supports of urban Hispanic students: A scale development

Allison Burnett Ventura, Fordham University


Hispanic students have the lowest level of educational attainment in high school and college of any ethnic group in the United States, and urban Hispanic students face more educational obstacles than students living in rural areas. Despite a significant body of research in the application of social cognitive career theory there has been scant research on theoretically driven, psychometrically sound, and culturally relevant measures to examine perceived educational harriers and supports. This study established the construct validity of the Perceptions of Academic Achievement Barriers and Supports (PAABS) scale, which provided empirical support for its use with low-income Hispanic students attending urban middle schools. Participants were 212 Hispanic American, urban middle school students; the majority of participants identified as high achievers (earned grades ranging from A to B−). Participants completed an informed assent, demographic questionnaire, and a 52-item protocol PAABS scale. Results from an item analysis and internal consistency estimates led to the elimination of two items. Data were then parceled by combining the 50 items into 12 parcels. A confirmatory factor analysis was utilized to confirm whether the hypothesized model provided a good fit to the data. Goodness-of-fit statistics were examined and modification indices were calculated to identify how to improve the model fit. A revised, good fitting model was identified with 50-items and four factors: contextual supports, psychological supports, contextual barriers, and psychological barriers. As a whole, participants perceived more academic supports than academic barriers. Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVAs) were examined to explore differences between gender and academic achievement and their interaction on the four factors of the PAABS. MANOVA findings showed that the main effects of gender and the interaction effects of gender and academic achievement were not significant. A small multivariate effect size was found for academic achievement. Univariate analysis of variances and mean examinations indicated that high-achieving students received higher psychological support scores than lower-achieving students. Overall, results supported that the PAABS scale is a culturally appropriate and valid tool for high-achieving, low-income, inner-city Hispanic students and has practical implications for vocational counseling and assessment.

Subject Area

School counseling|Educational psychology|Counseling Psychology|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Ventura, Allison Burnett, "Perceptions of academic achievement barriers and supports of urban Hispanic students: A scale development" (2010). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3420965.