Variables Associated With Academic Achievement of African-American Males in Four-Year Undergraduate Educational Institutions: a Synthesis of Studies
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This project was a synthesis of studies of the academic achievement of African-American males in undergraduate, four-year institutions in the United States. The purpose of this synthesis was twofold. The first purpose was to collect studies on the academic achievement of African-American males. The second purpose was to identify variables associated with achievement of African-American males.
In this review of 13 studies, 48 variables associated with academic achievement of undergraduate, African-American males were identified. These variables were placed into three categories: personal variables, demographic variables, and institutional variables. Personal variables were sub-divided into non-cognitive and cognitive variables.
Findings specific to each category of variables are included below:
Personal, non-cognitive variables. African-American males with high scores on measures of educational aspirations, values (courage, exciting life, cleanliness, imagination, and helpfulness), emotional intelligence, acceptability of mixed dating, self-confidence, satisfaction with academic advising and tutoring, being in control of academic outcomes, preference for long-term goals, academic self-concept, self-esteem, self-concept of ability, specific personality traits (achievement aspirations, affiliation, dominance, endurance, exhibition, harm avoidance, nurturance, order, play, and understanding), favorable opinions of their study habits and relationships with others, and low scores on alienation and reliance on family and institutions to solve social and academic problems had higher grade-point averages than those with contrasting scores on these variables. Encouragement from family and other role models appears to be associated with academic achievement of African-American male undergraduates as well.
Personal, cognitive variables. African-American males with high grades in high school, high class ranks in high school, and high scores on college entrance examinations had higher college grade-point averages than those with lower high school grades, high school ranks, and entrance examination scores.
Demographic variables. Non-transfer, younger students in nondevelopmental and humanities and arts programs were more likely to persist in college than transfer and older students in developmental and math and science programs. Participants in a math workshop achieved higher grade-point averages in a freshman calculus course than students who did not participate in the workshop.
Institutional variables. African-American males who attended predominantly black colleges and universities earned higher grade-point averages than those who attended predominantly white colleges and universities. African-American males who attended four-year institutions earned higher grade-point averages than those who attended community colleges. Those on both black and white campuses who scored higher on a college environment opinion survey covering academic integration, satisfaction with the campus environment, and institutional support achieved higher grade-point averages than those who scored lower on the survey. For those on white campuses who came from high schools with very different racial compositions from those of the colleges they were attending achieved higher grade-point averages than students who came from high schools with very similar racial compositions to those of the colleges they were attending.
In conclusion, academic achievement of undergraduate African-American males is associated with a combination of personal variables, demographic variables and institutional variables. The majority of these variables are personal, non-cognitive variables.
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