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ERIC Number: ED534216
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 231
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-7421-0
Demystifying the Lens of Color: Examining the Relationship between Academic Achievement and Racial Identity
Wyche-Hall, Marla E.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of New Mexico
The purpose of this mixed methods research study was to examine the dynamic interaction between the racial and academic identities of African American, undergraduate students who were enrolled full time at an academic institution of higher education that was both a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), and a predominately White institution (PWI). The two main research questions addressed by this study were: 1. To what extent does the racial identity of African American, undergraduate students shape their expectations and beliefs about succeeding at the higher education level; and 2. What is the relationship between students' racial identity, selected aspects of their university environment, and students interactions with prior environments including their home environment (i.e., family structure and background) with their academic achievement while matriculating towards a bachelor's degree? Racial identity has been noted as a variable that impacts academic achievement within the realm of higher education for African American, undergraduate students (Sellers, 1998). How does it function in the center of these other potentially important influences on higher levels of academic achievement? This study employed a conceptual framework that was based on four theoretical approaches: 1. Nigrescence Model; 2. Critical Theory/Critical Race Theory; 3. Family Systems Theory; and 4. Phenomenological Approach. These conceptual frameworks were integrated in an attempt to understand the complexity of the African American undergraduate students who participated in this study. In 2010, the African American undergraduate student population that consisted of 647 students at the University of New Mexico (UNM) main campus was invited to participate in a study examining the relationship of Black identity to academic success as college undergraduate students by completing the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI) online survey. In order for students to be a part of this study, they had to be eighteen years of age or older, self-identify as African American/Black and be enrolled in at least twelve credit hours at the main campus. One-hundred and twenty-five students completed a demographic data sheet, along with the MIBI. Upon completion of the survey, participants were asked to consider participating in a one-on-one interview with the researcher to address these issues further. Out of these 125 students, 77 agreed to volunteer for the interview. Their names were entered into a pool from which a random selection process was employed using a Microsoft Excel program. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the 15 undergraduate, African American students identified. The 73 participants who were a part of this study came from another state and/or country, other than NM. In addition, 67 participants came from two-parent family homes during their high school upbringing. Of the 125 participants, 95 of them were not first-generation college attendees and therefore, came from second and third generations of attending and/or graduating from college with a bachelor's degree. The mean age of these participants was 22.87 with a standard deviation of 1.56. Their mean cumulative grade point average was 3.10. Most participants were upper classmen--junior and senior students (88) and 37 participants were lower classmen--freshmen and sophomore students. The quantitative partial estimated correlation analysis of data from this research study indicated that the 3 dimensions of racial identity assessed (centrality, regard ideology) by the MIBI, selected aspects of the university environment, and the students' home environment (i.e., family structure and background) showed weak to moderate relationship to the academic success of African American undergraduates enrolled at this HSI/PWI institution of higher education. Prior family involvement and various narratives describing their family household, as well as students' earlier school experiences within the educational environment could be factors for this finding. The students in this study obtained low to mid racial identity scores on all sub-measures of the MIBI. It should be noted that the data supported a number of factors shown to be related to academic achievement of black children and adolescents. Positive relationships were found with two-parent family structure. For example, one-parent family structure, college attendees noted a perceived inadequacy as it related to high school preparedness. In sum, the participants who were interviewed appeared to realize that they are comparable to their peers academically and are able to compete within the classroom setting, but they seemed to experience a sense of not belonging within the general mainstream community of this campus and not being included in the mainstream culture at this university. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico