Inferences about Responsibility and Values: Implication for Academic Motivation
In this chapter, I describe a program of research undertaken to shed new light on achievement patterns of ethnic minority youth from a motivational perspective. The focus of the research is motivational processes in African American youth, although we have broadened our perspective to include multiethnic samples who share some of the same motivational beliefs and school achievement patterns as their African American counterparts. Studies of ethnic minority youth in contemporary America are compatible with the theme of this series on exceptionality, if this construct is broadly defined as being different from the dominant group. Race and ethnicity are among the main dimensions in this society on which people are perceived to differ, and minority groups are often studied to examine the degree to which their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are similar to or different from those of Euro-Americans. It will be argued that some of our society’s normative beliefs about effort and achievement strivings are not endorsed by minority youth, and that understanding motivation in exceptional as well as typical individuals will require new approaches that better accommodate the diversity of experiences and beliefs shared by youth of different ethnic origins.
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