Scholar Identity and Academic Achievement in African American Adolescents
Is There a Connection?
This chapter presents a nine-year longitudinal study designed to discover how educationally disadvantaged African American adolescents, with the potential to attend college, began to classify themselves as “scholars”. The study specifically examined Project EXCEL (Encouraging Excellence in Children Extends Learning). The program was intended to promote athletic accomplishments rather than academic excellence with the premise that a scholar identity requires more than an academically enriched curriculum to assist marginalized students in achieving their full capacity. In addition, the program also helped students in addressing cultural stereotypes through a critical understanding of the school culture of the larger society. The examination of both the development of the scholar identity and the effect of that identity on students' motivation to achieve academically is presented as well.
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