Study Links Academic Achievement to Racial-Ethnic Pride

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.

A new study links academic achievement among African American students to racial-ethnic pride. The study, conducted by a Penn State University researcher, found that African American fourth graders with higher levels of racial-ethnic pride were found also to have higher academic achievement levels measured by reading and math grades in school and standardized tests.

The study, conducted by Dr. Emilie Phillips Smith, associate professor of human development and family studies, also found a correlation between parental and teacher racial-ethnic pride and children's achievement.

"Children, whose teachers exhibited higher levels of racial-ethnic trust and perceived fewer barriers due to race and ethnicity, showed more trust and optimism," Smith says. In addition, children living in communities with higher proportions of college-educated residents also exhibited more positive racial-ethnic attitudes, according to Smith.

"The study contradicts the notion that 'racelessness' in school children is necessary for success," Smith says. "We found that family, school and community are all important factors related to children's healthy racial-ethnic attitudes and that these attitudes are correlated with their academic achievement. …