Racial-Ethnic Identity And Academic Achievement: Psychological And Motivational Mediators
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The unfortunate disparity in achievement among minority and low income students is well-documented. Multiple social, structural, and psychological variables have been presented to try to explain the achievement gap. Researchers have also considered an individual’s racial-ethnic identity (REI) as an important variable that contributes to achievement outcomes. Oyserman and colleagues developed a model of REI that emphasizes three key factors of one’s racial-ethnic identity that have a direct impact on achievement. Further, her model posits that the interaction between two key REI variables, feelings of connectedness to one’s REI group (connectedness) and the perception that one’s racial-ethnic group values achievement (embedded achievement), contributes to positive achievement outcomes. Although research has suggested that REI significantly impacts achievement, the specific processes by which this occurs are less known. Considering the social-cognitive literature, it is plausible that different psychological and motivational beliefs mediate the relationship between REI and achievement-related outcomes. This dissertation study examines the mediating effect of sense of school belonging and perceived sense of school engagement on the relationship between REI (embedded achievement and connectedness) and academic achievement of minority middle school students longitudinally through the use of structural equation modeling. Results indicate that embedded achievement significantly predicts academic achievement. Furthermore, sense of belonging to school mediates this relationship for all racial and gender groups. Results also revealed that embedded achievement significantly predicted student perceived engagement for Hispanic students. Strategies to promote sense of belonging and embedded achievement at the personal, structural, community, peer, and family levels are discussed.
Thomas, Hillary M. (2013). Racial-Ethnic Identity And Academic Achievement: Psychological And Motivational Mediators. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from