, Volume 32, Issue 1-2, pp 159-173

Family, School, and Community Factors and Relationships to Racial–Ethnic Attitudes and Academic Achievement

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Abstract

This study examined family, school, and community factors and the relationships to racial–ethnic attitudes and academic achievement among 98 African American fourth-grade children. It has been posited that young people who feel better about their racial–ethnic background have better behavioral and academic outcomes, yet there is a need for more empirical tests of this premise. Psychometric information is reported on measures of parent, teacher, and child racial–ethnic attitudes. Path analysis was used to investigate ecological variables potentially related to children's racial–ethnic attitudes and achievement. Parental education and level of racial–ethnic pride were correlated and both were related to children's achievement though in the final path model, only the path from parental education level was statistically significant. Children whose teachers exhibited higher levels of racial–ethnic trust and perceived fewer barriers due to race and ethnicity evidenced more trust and optimism as well. Children living in communities with higher proportions of college-educated residents also exhibited more positive racial–ethnic attitudes. For children, higher racial–ethnic pride was related to higher achievement measured by grades and standardized test scores, while racial distrust and perception of barriers due to race were related to reduced performance. This study suggests that family, school, and community are all important factors related to children's racial–ethnic attitudes and also to their academic achievement.