Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Louis Rocconi

Committee Members

Dorian McCoy, Leia Cain, Joshua Rosenberg


As part of the cultural community wealth (CCW) framework, aspirational capital (AC) is one of six forms of non-dominant capital and defined as the “ability to maintain hopes and dreams for the future even in the face of barriers” (Yosso, 2005, p. 41). AC is theorized to help underrepresented and underserved students traverse through their education journeys despite education institutions praising dominant forms of capital such as middle- and professional cultural and social capital (Bañuelos, 2021; Claussen & Osborne, 2012; Yosso, 2005). While there is an abundance of qualitative research examining students AC, recent quantitative critical research examining the underlying structure of AC has encountered difficulty in effectively measuring the construct (Hiramori et al., 2021; Sablan, 2019).

The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to understand the dimensions and further build upon the theoretical structure of AC; and 2) to create a reliable and valid scale for community-based organizations (CBOs) to utilize for ongoing programmatic improvements to better the lives of underrepresented and underserved students. In developing the Aspirational Capital Scale (ACS), this study relied on the community cultural wealth (CCW) theoretical framework as well as Carpenter’s (2018) scale development process and included an expert panel review, cognitive interviews, a pilot scale, and a final administration of the ACS. The findings suggested the ACS measured four underlying factors: internal, social, family, and equity motivation. Additionally, the ACS demonstrated strong psychometric properties including high internal consistency reliability as well as content, construct, and convergent validity.

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