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Impact of self-esteem and identification with academics on the academic achievement of African American students

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Edward E Bell
Abstract:
This study examined the impact of self-esteem and identification with academics on the academic achievement of African American students in a charter school setting. Ninety-three students participated in this study. Using a pretest/posttest control group design, both the experimental group and the control group were administered the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory and the School Perception Questionnaire (SPQ) as pretest measures of self-esteem and identification with academics at the beginning of the experiment. The control and experimental groups were administered the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory and the School Perceptions Questionnaire (SPQ) at the end of the experiment. The control group received no intervention between the pretest and the posttest, while the experimental group was taught the Start Something curriculum. The grade point average (GPA) of each of the students in the control group and the experimental group were recorded at the beginning and of the experiment. African- American students who participated in the experimental group and were taught the Start Something curriculum had higher grade point averages than students in the control group who were not taught the curriculum. No differences were noted in self-esteem and identification with academics for the control group and experimental groups, as shown by pretest and posttest measures.

v Table of Contents Chapter One: Introduction........... ..................................................................................1 Self-esteem Relationship to Achievement…......................................................3 Motivation and Achievement………………………………………………….7 Domain Identification………………………………………………………....9 Background ......................................................................................................10 Statement of the Problem .................................................................................14 Hypotheses .......................................................................................................14 Defining and Measuring Self-Esteem ..............................................................16 Definitions of Related Terms ...........................................................................17 Summary…..…………………………………………………………………18 Chapter Two: Literature Review .................................................................................19 Historical Context of Self-Esteem Research ....................................................21 The Truth About Self-Esteem.……………………………………………….26 The Appeal of Self-Esteem ..............................................................................27 Self-Compassion and Academic Goals………………………………………29 Self-Perceptions of African Americans: Self-Esteem and Personal Efficacy 30 Ethnic Identity in Adolescents .........................................................................31 African American Self-Esteem Development ……………………………….34 The Impact of Family and Student Achievement…………………………….38 Race and the Schooling of Black Americans…………………………………39 The Impact of African American Role Models on Self-Esteem....…………..41

vi Educators on Self-Esteem…………………………………………………….44 Correlation Research Between Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem ......46 Self-Determination, Self-Efficacy, Self-Handicapping and Academic Achievement ....................................................................................................52 Lack of Academic Identification and the Stereotype Threat………………....57 Academic Performance, Self-Esteem, and Gender…………………………. 60 Racial Identity, Attitude, and Self-Esteem…………………………………..61 Summary of Research Studies...................................………………………..62 Summary……………………………………………………………………..63 Chapter Three: Methodology .......................................................................................66 Participants .......................................................................................................68 Procedures ........................................................................................................68 Summary .....................................................................................................….73 Chapter Four: Results ..................................................................................................74 Hypotheses .......................................................................................................74 Data Organization ............................................................................................75 Table 1 .............................................................................................................75 Table 2 .............................................................................................................76 Table 3 .............................................................................................................77 Table 4 .............................................................................................................78 Summary…………………………………………………………………….. 78

vii Chapter Five: Summary and Discussion.......................................................................80 Statement of the Problem .................................................................................80 Review of Methodology ..................................................................................80 Procedures ........................................................................................................80 Summary of Results .........................................................................................82 Discussion of Results…………………………………………………………82 Anecdotal Evidence .........................................................................................87 Implications......................................................................................................88 Principal's Reflections.................................................... ..................................89 Applications .....................................................................................................90 Significance of the Study .................................................................................92 Delimitations ....................................................................................................92 Recommendations for Further Research ..........................................................93 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………95 References ..…………………………………………………………………. 97 Appendices A Informed Consent Form.............................................................................115 B Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.....................................................................117 C School Perceptions Questionnaire…………………….………………….118 D Sample Start Something curriculum…….……………………………….120

1

Impact of Self-Esteem and Identification with Academics on the Academic Achievement of African American Students CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION There is a large body of research available investigating the relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement in African American students due to the well- documented assumption that self-esteem is highly correlated with academic achievement and identification with academics (Osborne & Walker, 1997). A general assumption is that low self-esteem correlates positively with low academic achievement, and high self- esteem correlates positively with high academic achievement (Gaskin-Butler & Tucker, 1995; Osborne, 1997; Hale, 2001). However, much of the research literature that examines whether positive self-esteem enhanced academic achievement, or vice versa, has been inconsistent (Gaskin-Butler & Tucker, 1995). In the fall of 1999, nearly 3.4 million students entered kindergarten in public schools in the United States (Johnston & Viadero, 2000). Current trends indicate that Caucasian children would be twice as likely as their African American classmates and three times as likely as Hispanics to have a college degree (Johnston & Viadero, 2000). One of the most pressing concerns in American public education today is the so-called race gap in student achievement. The academic gap defined the difference between African American and Caucasian students’ achievement scores (Bell & Alvarez, 2004).

2 Improving the quality of public schooling in America has been a consuming issue over the last 30 years (Bell & Alvarez, 2004). For decades, the media and the public have criticized educational institutions for producing mediocre educational results. The government has been pouring astronomical amounts of money into education to improve student outcomes (Hwang, 1995). The struggle to improve the education for poor students and particularly non- White students has existed for a long time (Hale, 2001; Asmen, 1989). After trying methods such as education vouchers, charter schools, increased testing, and school uniforms, educational leaders are concluding that schools are not the answer (Sampson, 2002). Sampson (2002) concluded that despite inconsistencies in race, income, and neighborhood, student performance varied across the board. Particularly, parental supervision and the provision to help with homework are critical factors in the academic success of students (Sampson, 2002; Johnson, 2007; Hale, 2001). Family played a crucial role in ensuring academic achievement (Sampson, 2002; Johnson, 2007). Restricted opportunities, inequitable funding, segregation, and institutional racism add to the history of African American children’s self-esteem (Bailey, 2004). As a result, African American students’ academic achievement has been less than that of White students (Holliday, 1985). African American students' achievement is associated with various personal child attributes such as self-esteem and achievement motivation (Holliday). A key tenet of the American dream is that all citizens are entitled to equality of educational opportunities (Hale, 2001; Asemen, 1989). Since the Brown v. Board of

3 Education of Topeka, Kansas decision in 1954, desegregation of public schools has remained an important component of federal and state policies designed to expand educational opportunities for racial minority youth (Mickelson, 1999). The educational rationale for school desegregation rests largely on claims that it improves the access of minority students to the higher quality of education generally made available to Caucasian Americans (Mickelson, 1999). Equal opportunity has improved both minority students' educational outcomes and academic goals (Mickelson, 1999). The disparity in school performance tied to race and ethnicity, known as the achievement gap, has appeared in grades, test scores, course selection, and college graduation rates (Johnston & Viadero, 2000). After decades of desegregation efforts, during which the gap between Blacks and Whites closed substantially, progress has stalled. At the same time, the greater diversity of school populations and the rapid growth of minorities have reshaped the problem with a more complex set of issues (Johnston & Viadero, 2000). Self-esteem Relationship to Achievement Premature or unearned self-esteem can occur when adults build students up by overinflating their achievements (Kohn, 1994). This practice makes students feel good, but this exaggeration is a shortcoming to the natural process for motivation and self- esteem building (Kohn, 1994). Some students tend to think of themselves too highly, which can negatively affect their motivation by giving them a false sense of achievement. Furthermore, many people with high self-esteem exaggerate their successes and positive traits (Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger, & Vohs, 2003). High self-esteem often

4 refers to people who accept their good qualities along with narcissistic, defensive, and conceited traits (Baumeister et al., 2003). The modest correlations between self-esteem and school performance do not indicate that high self-esteem leads to good performance (Baumeister et al.). Boosting self-esteem may not lead to improvement in academic performance. People with high self-esteem claim to be likable and attractive, to have better relationships, and to make better impressions on others than people with low self- esteem. Objective measures do not confirm most of these beliefs (Baumeister et al.). High self-esteem makes people more willing to assert their opinions (Baumeister et al.; Cicirelli, 1997). Leadership opportunities promote the development of self-esteem by offering self-esteem building activities (Byrne, 1984). People with high self-esteem show stronger inclination to speak out and challenge the perceptions of others (Byrne, 1984). In view of high self-esteem, indiscriminate praise might just as easily promote narcissism, which is undesirable (Byrne, 1984). Despite popular beliefs that high self- esteem facilitates academic achievement, only a modest correlation exits between self- esteem and school performance (Byrne, 1984). Self-esteem investigators would like to show that self-esteem is vital to social and academic development (Kohn, 1994; Byrne, 1984).They have embarked on a major effort to help students feel better about themselves. Researchers have been largely unsuccessful in their attempts to demonstrate any of this through research. Kohn (1994) stated: No one has shown that self-esteem does not matter. This is quite true, but it is generally impossible to prove the negative. Moreover, the burden of proof would seem to rest with those arguing that our education system

5 ought to be attending to a given factor . . . . Self-esteem is related to things other than academic achievement performance and social behavior. (p. 274) Kohn also concluded: Self-esteem may not be sufficient to produce achievement, but it may be a necessary component. It is entirely possible that children who feel very good about themselves are not necessarily high-achievers or caring people. If high self-esteem failed to guarantee desirable outcomes but low self- esteem actively interfered with them, the overall correlation might be less than impressive . . . . If the techniques for measurement are so problematic, how can we rely on studies using these measures to challenge the importance of self-esteem? (p. 275) The relationship between self-esteem and higher achievement is not clear (Kohn, 1994). Some researchers say that self-esteem and achievement are causally related (Kohn, 1994). Students may feel good because they do well rather than do well because they feel good about themselves (Baumeister et al, 2003.). These possibilities are mutually exclusive. Still others, however, argue that neither is truly an independent variable. Something else may be driving self-esteem and achievement, giving the appearance of an intimate connection between the two (Kohn, 1994). Academic achievement of minority students is hindered by low self-esteem in a White-dominated society (Bankston & Min, 2002). The relatively strong performance of children of immigrants in general and children of Asian immigrants in particular further

6 complicates the self-esteem academic issue (Bankston & Min, 2002). The literature review suggested that these children face insecurities and difficulties that are inconsistent with high self-esteem. Asians showed the lowest levels of reported self-esteem of the major racial/ethnic groups but also the highest grade point averages (GPAs). African American students, on the other hand, showed the highest levels of reported self-esteem but reported relatively low grade point averages (Bankston & Min, 2002). Moreover, the research literature reported that African American students have higher self-esteem than White children do, and that Black and White girls demonstrated lower self-esteem than boys did, with White girls showing the lowest self-esteem of all (Rosenberg & Simmons, 1971). One source of high self-esteem is the evaluation of one’s success (Lipscomb, 1975; Bankston & Min, 2002). The segment of the Black population that has made the most progress in society feels a sense of achievement and motivation (Lipscomb, 1975). Middle-class African Americans have been more successful in maintaining high self- esteem (Lipscomb, 1975). In particular, according to Hale (2001), pro-Black orientation has incorporated the following elements in an effort to stress the positive characteristics of being Black. These included: refusal to disparage Blackness as related to Black people; self-acceptance and revaluation of Blackness; the doctrine of authenticity, or the proposition that experiences and ideas of Black people are genuine and human; defining the unique Black experience; growing attention paid to Black accomplishments in history, art, literature, and music; creation of the idea of Black power; and discovering

7 identity through these experiences and within the life of the Black community (Hale (2001. In addition, the literature reported that African American children from broken families have lower self-esteem in desegregated than in segregated schools. This finding suggests that African American students surrounded by other African Americans experience reduced negative effects of societal prejudice and discrimination (Rosenberg & Simmons, 1971). In particular, the landmark Coleman Report of 1966, which contradicted expectations and has had a larger impact on education than any other piece of social science research, stated that student achievement was related more to family background than to either race or schooling (Bell & Alvarez, 2004). Students are motivated to achieve success by promoting intrinsic motivation (Wilson & Corpus, 2001). Intrinsic motivation connoted doing an activity for its inherent satisfaction rather than for some separable consequences (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Deci and Ryan (2000) stated, “When intrinsically motivated, a person is moved to act for the fun rather than because of external prods, pressures, or rewards” (p. 56). In humans, intrinsic motivation is not the only form of motivation, but it is pervasive and important (Deci & Ryan, 2000). From birth onward, humans, in their healthiest state, are active, inquisitive, curious, and playful creatures, displaying a readiness to learn and to explore (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Motivation and Achievement Intrinsic motivation concerns active engagement with tasks that people find interesting and meaningful (Deci & Ryan, 2000). This level of interest promoted

8 responsibility and accountability and drove people to succeed or fail (Deci & Ryan, 2000). When students have a sense of control and choice, their level of competence is the impetus for increased intrinsic motivation (Wilson & Corpus, 2001; (Deci & Ryan, 2000). To improve academic achievement, intrinsic, motivated students seemed to incorporate the goal of wanting to succeed in an academic and social context (Wilson & Corpus, 2001). People's commitment to become involved in activities that satisfy their curiosity moves them to a point of satisfaction and fulfillment (Deci & Ryan, 1991). Competence and autonomy are essential for intrinsic motivation and interest, but the need for competence and autonomy does not provide a sufficient definition of intrinsic motivation (Dev, 1997). Intrinsically motivated behaviors produced engaging activities such as earning higher grades and persisting with difficult tasks (Dev, 1997). Good performance is not intrinsically rewarding. Poor performance is not intrinsically punishing (Deci & Ryan, 1991). Students work toward goals that are meaningful and valuable to them (Osborne & Walker, 2007). Anderman and Midgley (1997) provided strategies that promote intrinsic motivation: instilling and communicating to others that ability is malleable, delivering various teaching practices and strategies, and providing an environment for students to achieve (p. 42). Furthermore, “extrinsic motivation is a construct that pertains whenever an activity is done in order to attain some separable outcome” (Deci & Ryan, 2000, p. 60). For example, students who do homework only due to fear of parental sanctions for not doing homework are extrinsically motivated (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Similarly, if students

9 do work that is valuable for a career are doing so because it is of value rather than out of interest (Deci & Ryan, 2000). External regulation, which is evident when no internalization has occurred, represents the most controlled form of extrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 2000). External rewards, while still popular, generally have only a short- term positive effect and possible long-term negative effects on learning (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Anderman and Midgley, 1997). Domain Identification A strong sense of identification with academics is often incompatible with a positive self-image (Steele, 1997; Osborne, 1997; Voelkel, 1997). Steele (1997) asserted that the more a student of color invests in academics, the more likely that student is to experience stereotype threat. Beliefs about restricted opportunities in society may lead to misidentification (Steele, 1997). Claude Steele (1992) developed the stereotype threat hypothesis. Steele argued that cultural stereotypes depict African American students as intellectually inferior. Steele concluded that this stigma of inferiority threatens African American students’ self- esteem. According to Steele (1992), African American students, for fear of corroborating an existing stereotype, disengage or disconnect their self-esteem from the academic arena. Steele (1992) posited that African American students exhibit simultaneous low academic achievement and high self-esteem. Identification with academics is a special case of domain recognition, the extent to which an individual defines the self through a role or performance in a domain (Osborne & Walker, 2006). Strong domain identification could lead to increased

10 motivation to achieve the academic needs of students. Academic motivation is an important dimension of student performance (Osborne & Walker, 2006). Research examining identification with a domain as an outcome measure has tended to assess whether identification with a domain increased or decreased based on the positive or negative outcomes in that domain (Osborne & Walker, 2006). Identification with academics is a construct that merits investigation (Osborne, 1997). Steele (1992) noted that discrepancies in academic performance between African American and Caucasian students are partly a result of differences in identification. Steele (1992) asserted that African American students experience anxiety over academic failure in educational environments. These students appear to confirm the negative group stereotypes of failure. The achievement of African American students has continued to dominate educational discussions. However, Hale (2001) has suggested that teachers use various teaching styles to reach the needs of African American children such as cooperative learning and hands-on activities. Teachers of African American students must understand the role culture has on learning styles and adapt teaching styles to coincide with these learning styles (Wilson-Jones & Cashton, 2004). Background Reading the newspaper, attending professional association conferences, and even watching television will quickly convey the impression that self-esteem is a major determinant of what people accomplish and how fulfilled and rewarding their lives are (Steinberg, Onrush, and Brown, 1991). This belief in the potency of self-esteem affected

11 how rewarding a life is for people. For many years, self-esteem has received a great deal of attention in research and theory (Siring & Siring, 2004). The importance of self-esteem comes from a psychological developmental framework (Waltz, 1990). To cope adequately with life's challenges and decisions, people need to believe that they deserve happiness and joy (Lipscomb, 1975). Lacking a belief in either may lead to external productivity without internal creativity and the drive for a healthy self-esteem (Lip comb, 1975). The effects of self-esteem provided helpful strategies in making career decisions and in addressing challenging tasks (Waltz, 1990). Although there is debate among researchers about the impact of self-esteem on adolescents’ academic performance, self-esteem seems to influence a variety of developmental outcomes, such as making choices (Siring & Siring, 2004). Self-esteem is concerned with the value people place on themselves. Since this quality is the evaluative component of self-knowledge, self-esteem is perception rather than reality (Baumeister et al., 2003). Definitions of self-esteem vary considerably in their psychological sophistication (Waltz, 1991; Greenberg, 1972; Hutt, 2004). From an intuitive sense, high self-esteem means appreciating self and maintaining inherent worth (Waltz, 1991). More specifically, it means that a person has a positive attitude, evaluates self highly, and is convinced to do what is right in life (Waltz, 1991). In particular, the California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility provided the following key findings in its efforts to educate the state's citizens about healthy social responsibility: 1. “Self-esteem empowers people to live responsibly.”

12 2. “The lack of self-esteem may cause personal problems.” 3. “The family begins the development of self-esteem. Self-esteem development has its origins in the formative stages of children's development.” 4. “High self-esteem parents tend to instill a healthier self-concept in their children.” 5. “Since children spend so much of their time in school, the environment of the school also plays a major role in the development of self-esteem. Schools that feature self-esteem as a clearly stated component of their goals, polices, and practices are more successful academically as well as in developing healthy self- esteem.” 6. “People with high self-esteem reduce the likelihood of destructive and self- destructive behaviors such as child abuse, crime, and violence.” 7. “Regardless of age, race, creed, or sex, an affirming environment in the home, school, and workplace is crucial for nurturing self-esteem.” 8. “Healthier self-esteem comes at any age.” (California State Department, 1990, p. 83) Self-esteem education has provided educators with pedagogical techniques in addressing the needs of students (Koror, 2008; Hale, 2001). To help develop a positive self-concept in children, teachers can encourage students to ask probing questions and validate their responses. Self-esteem building activities and opportunities for personal skill-building development can promote student growth (Lee, 2003). Feeling good is an important part of our society and a critical phase of self-development (Koror, 2008).The way people look and feel tends to shape their interactions with others (Koror, 2008).

13 High levels of self-esteem and positive school, peer, and family connections may prove to be protective factors against youth involvement in risky behavior (King, 2002). Students who receive support from the community tend to overcome negative perceptions and begin on a positive path toward making the right choices (Hale, 2001). The encouragement of teachers provides the strength that many students need to succeed (Kohn, 1994). Past research questioned whether or not schools should help students feel better. The tone of this coverage has generally ranged from harshly critical to derogatory (Kohn, 1994). Some educators worry about how children feel while others concentrate on spending time on academics. Lane, Andrew, and Kyprianou, 2004). There is debate that an attempt to help students feel better would be an effective means to increase student performance (Kohn, 1994). The resulting high correlation between the measures of self-esteem and performance would reflect nothing more than the fact that the same question seems to measure different constructs (Baumeister et al., 2003). People often determine their own self-esteem by indicating their responses on a self-reporting scale (Baumeister et al., 2003). People score high in self-esteem because they respond to a questionnaire by endorsing favorable statements about themselves Baumeister et al., 2003). People who speak well of themselves do not respond negatively when filling out a self-esteem scale to address their behavior (Baumeister et al., 2003). People who like to describe themselves in glowing terms will be inclined to report that they get along well with others, are physically attractive, do well in school and work, and refrain from undesirable actions (Baumeister et al., 2003).

14 For many years, one of the most firmly entrenched sociological truisms was that Blacks have lower self-esteem than Caucasians (Heiss & Owens, 1972). For one thing, it appeared so reasonable on theoretical grounds. The general societal evaluation of Blacks was negative, and the accomplishments of the average Black were doomed to be lower because of the barriers faced in employment and leadership opportunities (Heiss & Owens, 1972; Deno and Beaulieu, 2002). Self-esteem includes healthy identity formation because students with high self-esteem function effectively in a variety of situations, including school contexts (Sirin & Sirin, 2004). Statement of the Problem The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the impact and the relationship of self-esteem and identification with academics on the achievement of African American students. The secondary purpose is to clarify this relationship and determine motivational interventions and strategies that might promote academic achievement among these students. A tertiary purpose is to discern interventions and practices that may be effective in the classroom. Hypotheses This study is an expansion of the literature and research surrounding the education of African American students. This study aims to provide clearer insights into the interaction of self-esteem and identification with academics among African American students. Specifically, this study seeks to test the following three hypotheses: (a) Students exposed to the Start Something curriculum will perform better academically compared to those not exposed to the curriculum as shown by

15 grade point averages. (b) Students exposed to the Start Something curriculum will improve their self- esteem as shown by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. (c) Students exposed to the Start Something curriculum will increase identification with academics as shown by the School Perceptions Questionnaire. The results of this study will permit the implementation and utilization of more effective classroom strategies and interventions for raising achievement among young African American students. This research will pave the way for other relevant research for this often-neglected population. The Start Something curriculum contains six units that guide students through activities and lessons that generate measurable improvements in self-esteem, academics, and attitudes toward learning and school. The Tiger Woods Foundation created the curriculum. Teachers, curriculum writers, and a consulting team from Minneapolis Public Schools and the University of Minnesota developed this curriculum in 2000. All of the curriculum materials are free and contain age-appropriate activities. Over 5 million students have taken part in the Start Something curriculum. (http://www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org/actionplan/who.php) The curriculum serves upper elementary, middle, and high school students. Quality Education Data Survey conducted a study in 2003 made of three phases: an online survey, qualitative research, and a pre- and post-outcome study with 333 students. The study’s key findings were: (a) Students showed positive improvement in self-esteem after

16 participating in the curriculum, (b) students exhibited improved attitudes toward learning and school after exposure to the curriculum, and (c) students showed improvement in academic performance after exposure to the curriculum. (http://www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org/actionplan/who.php) Educators have reported positive comments in the fidelity of the Start Something curriculum. The curriculum was a key ingredient to students’ success. Academic achievement improved as a result of the Start Something curriculum. (http://www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org/actionplan.php ) Since 2000, Girls Clubs of America, Communities in Schools, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, and schools in New York and California have all implemented the Start Something curriculum. (http://www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org/actionplan.php ) Defining and Measuring Self-Esteem A major problem in attaining high, consistent correlations between self-esteem and academic achievement has been the lack of a common definition for self-esteem (Rosenberg, 1965; Enger, 1993). The absence of a common definition makes it difficult to cross-reference reliable data for replicating and expanding upon past research (Enger, 1993). Research literature provides a myriad of definitions of self-esteem. However, for the purposes of this study, the operational definition of self-esteem is the positive or negative value placed on one’s own attributes (Enger, 1993), or the relative degree of worthiness, or acceptability, which people perceive their self-concept to possess (Rosenberg, 1965; Enger).

17 Other researchers have defined self-esteem as the subset of self-descriptive behaviors that involve self-evaluations (Ford, Obiakor, & Patton, 1997). Some research studies that examined the correlation between self-esteem and academic achievement did not define the term (Gaskin-Butler & Tucker, 1995; Simmons, Brown, Bush, & Blyth, 1978). Another related problem is the use of a variety of instruments to measure self- esteem throughout the literature. The difficulty is determining if the different instruments are measuring the same construct. This study assessed self-esteem using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory based on 5,024 high school juniors and seniors from 10 randomly selected schools in New York. Definitions of Related Terms • Global self-esteem refers to overall self-esteem and is roughly equivalent to personal self-esteem (Porter & Washington, 1979). • Middle school student refers to a student in grades six through eight. • Personal self-esteem refers to how one values one’s individuality regardless of racial group and how people see themselves (Porter & Washington, 1979). • Racial self-esteem refers to how the individual feels about the self as Black person (Porter & Washington, 1979). This term is used in various racial settings; however, for the purpose of this study it refers to African American students. • Self-concept and self-esteem can be used interchangeably (Henry, 2005). These two words can define a person’s total thoughts and feelings.

18 • Self-efficacy refers to a person’s belief in his or her ability to organize and execute a course of action required to achieve a goal (Bandura, 1997; Johnston-Reid, Davis, Saunders, Williams, & Williams, 2005). In summary, self-esteem, in common usage, means a high opinion or respect of oneself (Reich, 1960). This positive evaluation of the self is a precondition for well- being. Human beings attempt to keep up a positive evaluation of themselves (Reich, 1960). Self-esteem is the affective or emotional aspect of self and generally refers to how people feel or how they see themselves (Huitt, 2004). The purpose of this study is to promote knowledge and understanding regarding the academic performance of African American students by addressing how self-esteem and identification with academics affects their achievement. The subsequent chapter outlines the research and practice of studying the impact of self-esteem and identification with academics on the achievement of African American students.

Full document contains 128 pages
Abstract: This study examined the impact of self-esteem and identification with academics on the academic achievement of African American students in a charter school setting. Ninety-three students participated in this study. Using a pretest/posttest control group design, both the experimental group and the control group were administered the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory and the School Perception Questionnaire (SPQ) as pretest measures of self-esteem and identification with academics at the beginning of the experiment. The control and experimental groups were administered the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory and the School Perceptions Questionnaire (SPQ) at the end of the experiment. The control group received no intervention between the pretest and the posttest, while the experimental group was taught the Start Something curriculum. The grade point average (GPA) of each of the students in the control group and the experimental group were recorded at the beginning and of the experiment. African- American students who participated in the experimental group and were taught the Start Something curriculum had higher grade point averages than students in the control group who were not taught the curriculum. No differences were noted in self-esteem and identification with academics for the control group and experimental groups, as shown by pretest and posttest measures.