Sewell, Trevor E.; DuCette, Joseph P.; Fiorello, Catherine A.; Farley, Frank; Rotheram-Fuller, Erin (Temple University. Libraries, 2009)
      This study examined ethnic identity and academic achievement among urban African-American adolescents and investigated how bicultural competence may be related to these variables. There is a dearth of literature in school psychology on how these variables relate to best practices for closing the achievement gap. Seventy-two students in the sixth through eighth grades from three urban parochial schools and one urban charter school participated in the study including African Americans (n=43) and students of other ethnicities (n=29). Students included in the Other category included those who self-identified as Latino, Mixed, Other, Asian American, and Native American. The sample was 65.3% female (n=47) and 34.7% male (n=25) with students who ranged in age from 11 to 15 years of age. Using a correlational design, the participants were interviewed at their schools using a brief demographics questionnaire and the Revised Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM). Standardized test scores for each participant and information on socioeconomic status were also examined. No significant relationships were found between ethnic identity and any other variable in African-American adolescents or adolescents from other groups. As their grade levels increased, African-American students' levels of bicultural competence increased while their math achievement decreased. Students from other ethnicities who were high in bicultural competence had higher math achievement scores. Adolescent girls from the Other ethnicities group who were higher in bicultural competence tended to achieve more highly in math. Students from other ethnicities who were high in bicultural competence were less likely to receive free or reduced-price lunch. Students from other ethnicities whose parents were born in the United States were higher in bicultural competence than students in the same group whose parents were born outside the United States. This study indicated that academic achievement among urban adolescents can be consistent with a number of combinations of ethnic identities and levels of bicultural competence. The results of the present study suggest that, in order to help close the achievement gap, school psychologists and other decision makers should take socio-cultural and socioeconomic factors such as bicultural competence into consideration when making decisions for individual students and when affecting policy at the systems level.