Does ethnicity impact academic success?: examination of ethnic identity mediation on academic self-efficacy and academic achievement

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University of Alabama Libraries

The current literature appears to have mixed results as to how ethnic identity (EI) impacts academic achievement. This study attempts to clarify EI's role by proposing it as a potential mediator for the relationship between academic self-efficacy (ASE) and academic achievement as measured by grade point average (GPA) and Math, Reading, and English/Language Arts Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCTs). School level socioeconomic status (SES) and ethnic composition are also analyzed in conjunction with the aforementioned variables to determine the degree to which they impact the potential mediating relationships. Exploratory analyses examining ASE as a mediator and both ASE and EI as moderators were also undertaken. Participants included 142 males and 137 females for a total of 279. Of these, 65.6% were African American (AA) 34.4% were Caucasian (EA). Results indicated that both ASE and EI statistically mediated the other respective variable's relation to GPA. With regard to the CRCTs, ASE mediated the relationship between EI and Reading while EI mediated the relationship between ASE and Math. No statistical moderation was found for either EI or ASE. Similarly, no moderation was found for either of the school level variables. Additionally, no significant differences between ethnicities were found for the relationships examined. The statistical mediation results are explained through their potential associations to specific intelligences. It is thought that ASE may be more closely related to verbal-linguistic intelligence (VLI), thus explaining its stronger association with reading; while EI is thought to be more closely associated with logical-mathematical intelligence (LMI), thus explaining its stronger association with math. Limitations, lack of significant moderation, and implications for future research are also discussed.

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