For Men Of Color, High Academic Motivation Does Not Bring Academic Success

Career College Central summary:

  • Despite higher levels of engagement in the community college experience—from rarely skipping classes to accessing tutoring services more frequently—male students of color have lower academic outcomes than White male students who are significantly less engaged, according to a recent University of Texas at Austin report. "Aspirations to Achievement: Men of Color and Community Colleges" was produced by the College of Education's Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE). It is based on responses from more than 453,000 students nationwide to the Community College Survey of Student Engagement.
  • "Despite Black and Hispanic males reporting higher aspirations to earn a community college certificate or degree than their White peers, only 5 percent of those who attend community colleges earn certificates or degrees in three years, as opposed to 32 percent of White males," said Kay McClenney, CCCSE director. "Realities like this prompted us to look at what contributes to the achievement gaps and suggest ways community colleges can better support Black and Hispanic males' success."
  • Research consistently shows that in undergraduate education there is a positive correlation between students' levels of engagement—with faculty members, other students and the subject matter—and their academic success, said McClenney. An engaged student tends to do things like meet with advisers to discuss career plans, work on projects with other students outside of class, spend hours rewriting and perfecting a research paper, and ask questions in class.
  • Among male students, Black males are the most engaged, followed by Hispanics, and White males are the least engaged of the three groups. This pattern is consistent across benchmarks and more than 10 years of CCCSE data. When it comes to achievement, the results are reversed—White males consistently have the highest grades and college completion rates, followed by Hispanics. Black males report the lowest outcomes.

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