Equity Considerations in Higher Education: Race and Sex Differences in Degree Attainment and Major Field from 1976 through 1981

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Abstract

Higher education continues to grow in importance as a credential for mobility. Postindustrial society is marked by advancing technology and ever-increasing skills requirements for employment, the training and preparation for which have historically been inequitably distributed. This paper examines 1975-76 and 1980-81 baccalaureate degree attainment for blacks, Hispanics, and whites, both male and female, by major field using data collected in the Higher Education General Information Surveys of Earned Degrees for those years. Degree distributions overall, by major field and for blacks graduating from predominantly black and predominantly white institutions, are compared in order to assess conditions of race and sex equity. The results show that black-white parity in degree attainment remains a distant goal, that male-female parity in degree attainment is notably closer in 1980-81 than five years earlier, that male degree distributions are more similar to one another than they are to their same-race female counterparts, and that predominantly black institutions continue to play a very substantial role in the production of black baccalaureate degree holders. In addition to these general findings, the results show other specific race and sex group patterns.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-305
JournalAmerican Journal of Education
StatePublished - 1984

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