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Article

Academic help seeking among Russian minority and non-minority adolescents: A social capital outlook

Learning and Individual Differences. 2016. Vol. 50. P. 283-290.

Highlights • Social network methods allow for the studies of actual behavior in academic help. • No barriers exist in social capital exchange between ethnic groups. • Minority and majority students do not differ in academic help behavior. • Academic self-esteem is positively related to help-providing behavior. • Students with lower academic self-esteem seek help more extensively.  

Abstract Academic help-seeking and help-providing in school setting streamlines learning process and advances social competencies among students. Little research has examined differential patterns of help-seeking among students of ethnic minority and non-minority status. The present study conceptualizes school help-providing as remedial exchange of social capital among students. To explore possible barriers to such exchange, we compare help-seeking networks among mid-adolescents (15–16 y.o.) of migrant ethnic minority opposite those of non-minority origins, in Russian high schools (N = 3496). The data were collected in 183 classrooms from 49 schools of Greater Moscow area; network information was elicited from students' nominations of their classmates whom they ask for help in Math. Statistical analysis relied on multilevel dyadic p2 model. The data strongly suggest that school performance, academic self-evaluation, and gender are factors affecting help-seeking and help-providing behavior in classroom. By contrast, socio-economic status and, importantly, ethnic minority status had no influence on peer help relations in Moscow schools, suggesting that (1) minority status does not universally introduce stigmatizing barriers in youth social capital exchanges; and (2) majority-minority dynamics may vary as a function of the macro-context in which adolescents are embedded. Implications for further research and policy are discussed in turn.