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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Fred Muskal

First Committee Member

Mari G. Irvin

Second Committee Member

Elihu Carranza

Third Committee Member

Andres F. Rodriguez

Fourth Committee Member

Edward Pohlman


Purpose. The purpose of the study was to examine the social and cultural characteristics of successful and unsuccessful Mexican American community college students and compare them to successful and unsuccessful Anglo American community college students. The goal of this study was to collect data on ten independent variables that consistently appeared in the review of literature and were suspected of affecting the success of Chicanos in the California College system. Procedures. The major research question of this study was exploratory in nature in that it looked at possible factors which might affect the success or failure of Chicano students. A total sample of 260 community college students was surveyed at two Bay Area community colleges. Results. The research found that not all ten independent variables studied were as important in determining the key elements of academic success for Anglo or Chicano community college students. In particular, family structure, socioeconomic status, peer group support, and academic self-concept showed a strong relationship to the success of these community college students. In addition, there were six other variables, parental support, career goals, college staff support, sex roles, acculturation and world view which were not found to be as critical to the academic success of community college students. Conclusions. The first critical success factor was the family structure of these students and the data showed it was one of the most important factors in whether or not they succeeded in community college. The data implied that Chicano successful students come from families with more traditional/authoritarian structure. The second key success factor in this research was the socioeconomic status of the student. The data revealed that regardless of the type of job held by their parents, economically well off Chicano students were much more likely to be successful in college. The third significant independent variable in this research was the peer group support of these students. Most importantly, the data revealed that those students who have a strong network of peer group support are more likely to do well in college. The fourth significant independent variable to be examined was the academic self-concept of these students. The data concluded that college success can be determined in part by the view that a student has of himself in the classroom setting. Recommendations. This research suggests that a more extensive orientation of all community college staff is needed to sensitize them to the varied cultural background of their student population.



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