Exploring factors that predict African-American middle and high school boys’ academic engagement
There is a staggering disparity in the academic achievement of African American boys in comparison to that of their Caucasian counterparts. This disparity has existed for over 40 years and is known as the achievement gap. While there is extensive research on the deficits and deficiencies of African American boys as it pertains to academic achievement; there is far less research on those variables that contribute to the academic success of African American boys. Boykin and Noguera created a model that encompassed several factors that demonstrated success in helping African American boys succeed academically. These factors in isolation exhibited success, however, the model had not been tested.
The aim of this study was to empirically test the model and determine if student guided functions (i.e., self-efficacy, growth mindset), and classroom-based asset focused strategies (i.e., student-teacher relationship, culturally responsive pedagogy) were predictors of academic engagement in African American boys. A total of 93 African American boys in grades 6-12 participated in the study. Results of the study indicated positive and statistically significant relationships between student guided functions, classroom-based asset-focused strategies, and academic engagement. The hierarchical regression analysis suggested that both classroom-based asset focused strategies and student guided functions were predictors of academic engagement in African American boys. However, classroom-based asset focused strategies were a stronger predictor of academic engagement in African American boys. Findings suggest that these factors are predictors of academic engagement in the African American boys sampled.