Financial Capability Financial Inclusion Working Paper

Specifying Children’s Educational Expectations: The Potential Impact of Institutions

In this paper, we provide a conceptual framework for examining children’s educational expectations. The framework helps explain how both social and individual factors interact to form expectations about the utility of the education path for achieving desired goals. Further, we postulate that expectations are children’s internal representation of the educational institution. However, it is not until around fifth or sixth grade children begin to understand schools as impacting their capability for achieving desired goals. At this point, many minority and poor students begin to learn that effort and ability are not sufficient for academic success. Perceptions about what they can do are likely to decline and external explanations for success are more likely to be adopted.

Project: I Can Save


Elliott, W., III. (2007). Specifying children’s educational expectations: The potential impact of institutions (CSD Working Paper No. 07-17). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.