Positive Identity Reinforcement at School Improves Black Students Academic Performance

A new longitudinal study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh shows that African American youth who receive positive messages about their racial group in school achieved better school grades one to two years later.

The study initially assessed 961 sixth-, eighth- and tenth grade African American students enrolled in 17 public schools throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States during the 2016-2017 academic school year, following them subsequently over three academic years.

Researchers used three waves of yearly longitudinal data to examine whether:

  • Adolescents’ perceptions of school cultural socialization (engagement in endorsing racial pride messages) predict identity exploration, identity commitment, and overall grade point averages over a three-year period, and
  • A longitudinal link exists between school cultural socialization and school grades conveyed through identity exploration and identity commitment.

“African American youth who received positive messages from educators and school personnel about their racial group had better grades up to 1-2 years later,” said Juan Del Toro, postdoctoral research scientist at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the study. “Our results suggest that African American youth are more likely to be successful in school when they feel a positive sense of community and interdependence.”

Ming-Te Wang, professor at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of the study, added that “by understanding that schools can act as agents of positive cultural socialization, we can better inform schools as to why and how they should engage in practices that promote African American pride, history, and heritage.”

The full study, “Child Development, School Cultural Socialization and Academic Performance: Examining Ethnic-Racial Identity Development as a Mediator Among African American Adolescents,” was published on the website of Child Development, a journal of the Society for Research in Child Development. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

  1. Another meaningless so-called research study. These findings maybe “new information” to these researchers because they do not ethnically, racially, or culturally belong to the native born Black American community. Not to mention, “native born Black American” scholars have been literally saying this for DECADES. Further, I would venture in saying that similar claims can be made towards the Asian, Latino, and even White community. The only difference is that narrative is normally describe from a non-deficient narrative.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Federal Report Uncovers Lack of Faculty Diversity and Delay in Federal Discrimination Complaint Processing

In addition to a lack of diversity in higher education faculty, the report revealed a frequent delay by the Department of Education when referring discrimination complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Christopher Span Appointed Dean of Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

Dr. Span, professor of education policy, organization, and leadership at the University of Illinois, is a scholar of African American educational history. He has experience in both academic and administrative leadership positions.

Lingering Mistrust From Tuskegee Syphilis Study Connected to COVID-19 Vaccine Reluctance

African Americans who lived within 750 miles of Tuskegee, Alabama, were more reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than their White neighbors, as well as Black Americans from other United States regions. The authors attribute this finding to lingering mistrust of public health services as a result of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study which ran from the 1930s to 1972.

Clayton State University Selects Corrie Fountain to Serve as Interim Provost

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve at Clayton State in this interim capacity, and I hope that my contributions will aid in the success of its students, faculty and staff," said Dr. Fountain, currently the associate provost for faculty affairs at Georgia State University.

Featured Jobs