Black students “at promise” for high school graduation: a Black scholar identity scale

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Crystal N. Brunson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
L. DiAnne Borders

Abstract: Between 2010 and 2015, Black students’ high school graduation rates rose from 67 to 75 percent (Garunay, 2016). These are notable gains; however, the national average is 83 percent, constituting an educational gap. Moreover, research indicates that Black students dropout at higher rates in ninth and tenth grade compared to students from other racial or ethnic groups (Kim, Chang, Singh, & Allen, 2015). Researchers have only partially explained graduation disparities due to narrow or deficit-perspectives (Ladson-Billings, 2007), emphasis on isolated variables rather than interrelationships (Pharris-Ciurej, 2012), the omission of variables unique to Black students’ schooling experiences (e.g., Noguera, 2003b), and limited exploration into how school context influences Black students’ perceptions of schooling or themselves and their academic and attainment outcomes (e.g., Nasir, 2012). Aligned with these recommendations and critiques, the dissertation researcher has proposed a Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT)-Based Model of Black High School Students’ Graduation Promise. The model hypothesizes that Black students’ perceptions of the school context (i.e., racial school climate), relative to their racial identity, has implications for students’ beliefs about themselves (i.e., Black Scholar Identity), their capabilities (i.e., high school completion self-efficacy), and perceived outcomes (i.e., high school completion outcome expectations). Moreover, the hypothesized model postulates how those variables and associations impact students’ “graduation promise,” conversely dropout risk. The first step in testing this model and the purpose of this dissertation study was to create and assess the psychometrics of the Black Scholar Identity (BSI) scale (Gray, 2016). In the dissertation study, the researcher assessed the construct validity and reliability of the BSI (Gray) using factor analyses and the factor rho coefficient equation, respectively. The dissertation researcher conducted Pearson’s product moment correlations to assess the convergent, divergent, and external criterion validity. Confirmatory factor analyses findings suggested marginal fit and provided preliminary support for the structural validity of the second-order, 25-indicator BSI (Gray, 2016) revised model. The BSI-Revised scale (Brunson) has seven factors: Academic Goal Orientation, Academic Pride-School, Academic Prioritizing, Black Student Resilience, Academic Pride-Personal/Familial, Internal Locus of Control, and Scholar Self-Efficacy. Study findings suggested that the factors were appropriately reliable. There was also preliminary evidence for the convergent, divergent, and external criterion validity of the BSI-Revised scale (Brunson) and subscales. The dissertation researcher found a positive association between the BSI-Revised scale (Brunson) and a subscale measure of school engagement and a negative association with a subscale measure of anxiety. Moreover, parents of Black high school students with higher average scholar identity scores reported higher average grades and a higher GPA for their students. The findings have implications for future dropout research and practical implications for how school counselors and educators promote Black students’ academic success.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Black students, Dropout, Graduation promise, Opportunity gaps, Scholar identity
High school dropouts $z United States $x Prevention
Academic achievement $x Social aspects $z United States
African American high school students $x Social conditions
African American youth $x Education (Secondary)
Educational equalization $z United States
African Americans $x Race identity
High school environment

Email this document to