The Impact of Cultural Capital on Undergraduate Students' Performances in Brazil
The main goal of this study is to verify the effect of cultural capital on students’ performances through the student´s grades on ENADE (a specific test applied to students in the first year and last year in the undergraduate courses). The data set used is from the year of 2008 and involves 824.804 students. The standard test is applied each year. Along with the test a questionnaire is applied to identify students’ demographic characteristics as well as their families’ profile. The research question is: what is the impact of cultural capital on students’ performances in the ENADE test controlling for their demographic characteristics? The theoretical background is based on James Coleman (1997), Pierre Bourdieu (1982, 2007) and Basil Bernstein (1997). Among Brazilian scholars the study includes the ideas of Nelson Silva and Carlos Hasenbalg (2000) and Maria Ligia Barbosa (2009). The study model has as the dependent variable the students’ grades in the ENADE test and the cultural capital as the main independent variable along with the control variables. Descriptive analyses are used as well as regression models to obtain the effect of the independent variables on the dependent variable. The preliminary and main results show that there is significant association between levels of cultural capital and students’ performances in the ENADE test. Specifically, there is a significant and positive correlation between parents’ education, ownership of computer, access to the internet and newspaper reading with the performances in the ENADE test.