The Appropriateness of Using Three Measures of Self-Beliefs with European American, Latino/a, and Native American College Freshmen

By Kurpius, Sharon E. Robinson; Payakkakom, Anusorn et al. | Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, January 2008 | Go to article overview

The Appropriateness of Using Three Measures of Self-Beliefs with European American, Latino/a, and Native American College Freshmen


Kurpius, Sharon E. Robinson, Payakkakom, Anusorn, Rayle, Andrea Dixon, Chee, Christine, Arredondo, Patricia, Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development


The authors investigated the psychometric appropriateness of the Valuing/ Commitment to Education scale (A. M. Gloria, 1993), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (M. Rosenberg, 1965), and the Educational Self-Efficacy Scale (A. M. Gloria, 1993) for use with European American, Latina/o, and Native American college freshmen. Strong to moderate reliabilities were found, as was initial evidence of validity across groups.

Los autores investigaron la idoneidad psicometrica de la Valoracion/ Compromise con la Escala de Educacion (A. M. Gloria, 1993), la Escala Rosenberg de Autoestima (M. Rosenberg, 1965) y la Escala de Autoeficacia Educativa (A. M. Gloria, 1993) para su use con alumnos universitarios Euroamericanos, Latinos y Americanos Natives de primer curse. Se hallaron dates que prueban una fiabilidad entre moderada y alta, come Io fue tambien la validez observada inicialmente entre los grupos.

********** Although the number of students enrolling in institutions of higher education is increasing, the overall college graduation rate remains low (Knapp et al., 2005). Approximately 50% of all 1st-year students drop out of college before completing their degrees (Brawer, 1996), with the highest attrition occurring during the 1st year (32.8%; American College Testing Service, 2003). For instance, of the 1st-year students who enrolled at a large southwestern university in 1996, only 52% graduated within 6 years (Arizona State University [ASU], 2003). Noncompletion rates represent potential loss of knowledge and skills that could be developed and utilized if these students persisted, graduated, and entered the world's workforce.

Noncompletion rates are even more troubling when student race/ethnicity is considered. Attrition data for Native Americans and Latinos/as are particularly distressing. Native Americans constitute only 0.8% of all undergraduates (O'Brien, 1992), and only 60% of this 0.8% will earn their degree within 6 years (Knapp et al., 2005). Despite evidence of academic abilities, attrition is higher for Native Americans than for any other racial/ethnic group in the United States (Brown & Robinson Kurpius, 1997; Reddy, 1993), resulting in Native American students consistently having lower educational attainment than other racial/ethnic minorities (Lin, LaCounte, & Eder, 1988). In addition, only 10% of Latinos/as between the ages of 25 and 29 years hold a bachelor's degree or higher, only 6.7% of all undergraduates are Latino/a, and only 42% of these will obtain their bachelor's degree within 6 years of initial enrollment (Knapp et al., 2005). Although more European Americans initially enroll in college, only 55% obtain a bachelor's degree within 6 years. At the university where this study was conducted, 6-year graduation rates for students entering college in 1996 were 33.7% for Native Americans, 43.1% for Latinos/as, and 53.5% for European Americans (ASU, 2003).

With institutions of higher education striving to provide equal educational opportunities to students from all racial/ethnic backgrounds, the issue of minority students' academic persistence is particularly important (Gloria, Robinson Kurpius, Hamilton, & Willson, 1999). Therefore, it is imperative for researchers not only to examine factors related to academic persistence decisions but also to investigate whether the instruments used to measure these factors are psychometrically sound for racial/ethnic minority students. Researchers have reported that self-beliefs, defined as students' commitment to and valuing of a college education, their overall self-esteem, and their educational serf-efficacy, are consistently related to academic persistence decisions. This relationship has been found for Latino/a (Gloria, 1993), African American (Gloria et al., 1999), Native American (Gloria & Robinson Kurpius, 2001), and European American undergraduates (Dixon Rayle, Arredondo, & Robinson Kurpius, 2005).

the influence of self-beliefs on minority students' academic persistence

In reflecting on his 1975 model explaining nonpersistence in college, Tinto (1993) noted that students' individualized attributes contributed to dropout decisions, particularly among racial/ethnic minority students. …

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