Value orientations, based on Schwartz’s theory of human values, were collected from low-income, high-ability middle school students (N = 215; 87.4% Black, Hispanic, or Mixed) through a values affirmation activity in the 7th and again in the 8th grade. Students ranked “Being successful” highest in 7th grade, “Being safe and secure” highest in 8thgrade. Most important values in the Conservation and Self-Transcendent quadrants predominated and were most stable from 7th to 8th grade. Analysis of essays on their most important values identified the significance of Others in their lives, including the desire to be successful for others. Reflecting on their values led them to be Future Oriented in their thinking about the values that should guide them. Fear / Death Awareness was another significant theme, as students described their desire to be free from danger and to live a good life, short as it may be. As educators build supportive environments in schools for economically disadvantaged students, they can benefit from considering the importance of students’ values, which will be motivating factors in their engagement.
Cross, J. R. (2022). An Analysis of Most Important Values Among Low-Income, High-Ability Middle School Students. SENG Journal: Exploring the Psychology of Giftedness, 1(1), 7-19. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.25774/cae9-8b39