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Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
NCES 2007-039
September 2007

Chapter 5. Student Behaviors

Indicator 18: After-School Activities
Indicator 19: Computer and Internet Use
Indicator 20: Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Drug Use
Indicator 21: Teen Pregnancy
Indicator 22: Safety at School

This chapter focuses on behaviors that could influence a student's educational experience and outcomes. The first two indicators in the chapter look at behaviors that may be positively related to academic achievement. Indicator 18 examines the after-school activities of high school sophomores in 2002, finding that females were more likely than males to participate in every type of after-school activity, with the exception of interscholastic and intramural sports. White and Black males were more likely to participate in sports than were Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander males, while White females were more likely to play interscholastic sports than were females of any other race/ethnicity. For both males and females, White, Black, and Asian/Pacific Islander sophomores were more likely to be part of a school music group than were their Hispanic or American Indian/Alaska Native peers.

Indicator 19 examines computer and internet use. In 2003, a higher percentage of students across all races/ethnicities reported using computers at school than at home, but the differences were larger for Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native students than for their White and Asian/Pacific Islander peers. White and Asian/Pacific Islander students were more likely than students of any other racial/ethnic group to use computers at home (indicator 19.1). In terms of internet use, Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native students were more likely to use the Internet at school than at home, while the reverse was true for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students (indicator 19.2).

Indicators 20, 21, and 22 examine negative student behaviors. In 2004, higher percentages of White, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic children ages 12 to 17 had consumed alcohol in the past month, compared to Black and Asian children of the same ages. Higher percentages of American Indian/Alaska Native and White children reported smoking cigarettes or using marijuana in the past month than did Black, Hispanic, and Asian children. A similar pattern emerged among adults 18 to 25, with a higher percentage of Whites reporting alcohol use in the past month than any other racial/ethnic group and a higher percentage of American Indians/Alaska Natives reporting cigarette use in the same time period than Hispanics, Blacks, and Asians (indicator 20).

Birth rates for 15- to 19-year-old females of all races/ethnicities rose from 1985 to 1991 and declined from 1991 to 2004. While Black teenagers had the highest birth rates from 1990 to 1994, Hispanic teenagers have had the highest birth rate among teenagers of all races/ethnicities since 1995. Asian/Pacific Islander teenagers have had consistently lower birth rates than their peers (indicator 21).

Also in 2005, a higher percentage of Hispanic 9th- through 12th-grade students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property than did White or Asian students. The percentages of Black and White students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon at school were also higher than the percentage of Asian students. Hispanic and Black students ages 12 to 18 were more likely to report the presence of gangs in their schools than were students of any other race/ethnicity (indicator 22).