African American males attending colleges and universities perform below predicted levels. Countless theories have been advanced about the causes of underachievement of this population segment, including discrimination, implicit and explicit biases, disparate faculty expectations, cultural dissonance, and differentials in K-12 school quality. Lately however, there is a growing consensus among researchers that certain psychosocial factors mediate academic outcomes for this population. That is, African Americans reconcile their identity in diverse contexts in ways that facilitate or hinder positive academic outcomes.
This session begins by presenting the findings of a multi-institution study of Black males attending predominantly White research universities. Next, based on the findings, it introduces a multidimensional conceptual framework that describes how self-efficacy, institutional integration, and racial identity development could effect achievement and other outcomes.
Finally, the structure, curriculum, and results of an MIT first-year advising seminar for Black and Latino males that operationalizes the framework will be discussed. Participants will gain a better understanding of the factors associated with the academic success of African American males and a common language for constructing strategies for improving all student outcomes at scale.
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