Transitioning to High School: Issues and Challenges for African American Students

By Holcomb-McCoy, Cheryl | Professional School Counseling, February 2007 | Go to article overview

Transitioning to High School: Issues and Challenges for African American Students


Holcomb-McCoy, Cheryl, Professional School Counseling


Although there is a growing body of literature on students' transition from middle school to high school, much of the literature fails to take into consideration the distinctive racial and environmental circumstances of African American students. This article reviews literature related to the transitioning of African American students and discusses the unique challenges that African American students experience during adolescence. Counseling interventions are delineated and implications for school counseling professionals also are discussed.

**********

The process of transitioning from middle school/junior high to high school is one of the many developmental challenges that students face in their adolescent lives. This process constitutes an "ecological transition" that involves changes in the environment as well as changes in the role of the student (Newman, Myers, Newman, Lohman, & Smith, 2000). Research indicates that during this transition period, specifically in the school year following transition, many students experience a decrease in their academic achievement and grade point average (Reyes, Gillock, Kobus, & Sanchez, 2000). Minority students, in particular, seem to be at a greater risk for adjustment and academic difficulties post-transition to high school (Newman et al.; Reyes et al.). The purpose of this article is to review the literature related to the process of transitioning from middle to high school for a particular minority population--African American students. Also, implications for school counselors are provided.

The transition to high school has been found to bring about increased stress levels, decreased self-esteem, deteriorated academic performance, and heightened risk for maladjustment (Alvidrez & Weinstein, 1993). In addition, the process of transitioning from middle to high school involves a new environment and new roles and behaviors for the student (Keyes et al., 2000). These include increased student population size and heterogeneity; changes in school day structure; more teachers with a variety of teaching styles, rules, and expectations; higher-stakes grading; and stricter school policies (Reyes et al.). Research shows that a student's grades, self-esteem, and sense of academic efficacy are likely to decline after the transition to high school (Fuligni, Eccles, Barber, & Clements, 2001).

In addition to academic demands, beginning high school students also may become distracted by the increased complexity of social interactions that are fostered within the high school environment (Newman et al., 2000). Peers emphasize fitting in and belonging, and this can be a great source of pressure and anxiety for many students (Isakson & Jarvis, 1999). Further, due to the increase in the number of students, the high school environment can become a more anonymous setting than the middle school environment. For example, students who were top scholars and athletes in middle school may experience role loss when they arrive in high school (Newman et al.). Although a slight drop in grades and other adjustment difficulties may surface post-transition, the long-term outcomes following transition are largely determined by the ability of the student to cope with and manage change in the new environment (Isakson & Jarvis).

The literature related to middle-to-high school transitioning pays special attention to how environments affect individuals and how interactions between environments and individuals influence adaptation (Kelly, Ryan, Altman, & Stelzner, 2000). Using an ecological perspective, some authors (Fraser & Wahlberg, 1991) pointed to the importance of interdependence in the transitioning process. Changes in any part of an interrelated system, according to these authors, will affect changes in other parts of the system. Understanding the changes that adolescents encounter during school transition and the effects of these changes on students' adaptation is facilitated through this person-environment interactive framework. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Transitioning to High School: Issues and Challenges for African American Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.