Biculturalism, cultural identity, self-esteem, and academic achievement of African-American high school students

Jonathan Peter Rust, Fordham University

Abstract

This study used Alternation Theory and Orthogonal Cultural Identification Theory to investigate how African-American high school students' level of biculturalism (an individual's sense of belonging to two different cultures without losing sense of one's original cultural identity; being able to differentiate between the rules, norms, and values of both; and being able to interact in both cultures alternating as necessary) was related to their cultural identity, global and academic self-esteem, and academic achievement. It was hypothesized that the participants' level of biculturalism would have significant and positive correlations with their levels of cultural identity, global and academic self-esteem, and academic achievement. It was further hypothesized that the participants' level of biculturalism would account for more of the variance in terms of their academic achievement than would their levels of cultural identity, and global and academic self-esteem. The participants were 190 African-American high school students from various high schools in the New York City metropolitan area. The sample consisted of one hundred and twenty-five females and 65 males. Their ages ranged from 13 to 19 with a mean age of 15.56. Each participant completed a demographics questionnaire, the Orthogonal Cultural Identification Scale (OCIS), the African American Acculturation Scale-Revised (AAAS-R), the Multi-group Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM), and the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (SPPA). The students' level of academic achievement was determined by obtaining their final report card from the previous school year and determining their grade average based on the four major subjects (English, Math, Science, Social Studies). Data analysis was conducted using Pearson product-moment correlations and hierarchical multiple regressions. The results did not support the hypotheses of the study. Biculturalism was not found to be significantly and positively correlated with cultural identity, global or academic self-esteem, or academic achievement. In addition, biculturalism did not account for a significant amount of the variance in terms of academic achievement. However, cultural identity and academic self-esteem did account for a significant amount of the variance in terms of academic achievement. The results confirmed previous research suggesting the importance of cultural identity for African-American high school students in terms of academic success and contributed new information in terms of the relative importance of academic self-esteem for African-American high school students in terms of academic achievement. The limitations of this study, the implications for working with African-American high school students in regard to academic achievement and cultural differences, and suggestions for future research were also examined. ^

Subject Area

Black Studies|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Secondary

Recommended Citation

Jonathan Peter Rust, "Biculturalism, cultural identity, self-esteem, and academic achievement of African-American high school students" (January 1, 2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3302119.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3302119

Share

COinS