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ERIC Number: ED559814
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 152
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3033-2693-6
Are My Grades a Reflection of Me?: Black College Students' Attributions and Interpretations of Grades Received in the Classroom
Edwards, Diana Nicole
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Howard University
In the school achievement and motivation literature of African American students, one major theme of the literature is a supposed inconsistency or discrepancy in African American students' value and expectations for their academic achievement and their actual levels of achievement. The discrepancy between Black students' achievement ideologies and actual achievement outcomes has come to be referred to as the attitude-achievement paradox, and many researchers have studied and argued that the positive attitudes toward achievement for these students are irrational and unrealistic. Some attribution theorists hold the belief that Black students may suffer from a cognitive bias, or difference, in assessing the stability of their ability, and that this difference may be a reason why the attitude-achievement paradox exists. The purpose of this study was to investigate how Black students' intelligence beliefs moderate the relationship between their attributions for grades received in the classroom, their academic self-concept, and self-esteem utilizing the Achievement, Identity, and Motivation Survey (AIMS) (Freeman, Anderson, & Edwards, 2012). A secondary aim of the study was to learn more about what grades mean to Black college students. The researcher used components of Weiner's attributional theory of motivation and emotion and Dweck's implicit theories of intelligence to address inconsistencies within attribution theory's stability-expectancy linkage for Black students. Participants in the study (N = 207) were Black college students between the ages of 18 and 25 attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) primarily located in Maryland, and Virginia, and Washington, DC. A principal components analysis revealed that the Meaning of Grades Scale demonstrated moderate validity and reliability for use with Black students. Also, qualitative results revealed additional themes in the meaning of grades for these students. Results of multiple regression analyses found that strategy success attributions and task difficulty, ability, and teacher influence failure attributions were predictors of self-esteem. Similarly, ability success attributions and strategy, ability, and effort failure attributions were predictors of academic self-concept. Results of a moderation analysis showed that intelligence beliefs moderated the relationship between failure attributions and self-esteem. Recommendations are provided for educators and directions of future research. [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; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia; Maryland; Virginia