The academic achievement gap between African American and White students: an exploratory study on reading achievement and intrinsic motivation

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this study was to explore the academic achievement gap between upper elementary African American and White students. This study sought to assess any relationships between whether academic reading, students attitudes toward reading, and academic intrinsic motivation related to ethnicity. This study also sought to assess whether differences in reading achievement, attitudes, and intrinsic motivation varied by ethnicity, gender, or SES. Participants in the study were students enrolled in grades 4 through 6 in a rural West AL school district. Students with parental consent participated by completing the Children's Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (Gottfried, 1990) to assess motivation and the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (McKenna & Kear, 1990) to assess reading attitudes. Scores from the SAT 10 and Dibels were also utilized to assess reading achievement. Results indicated that based upon the population observed that SES is an outstanding variable in this study. In addition to research suggesting evidence that SES is a major correlate of the achievement gap, the focus turned towards a specific aspect of SES which is wealth. Children from wealthy families acquire more experiences through provisions of social and cultural capital which may be supportive in explaining the disparities between African American and White students in academics, including reading achievement and intrinsic motivation.

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Education, Educational Psychology, Elementary education, Education, Reading