Exploring the Relationship Between Personal Motivation, Persistence, and Resilience and Their Effects on Academic Achievement Among Different Groups of African-American Males in High Schools
Salley, Linda Delois
Weible, Thomas D
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This study investigated the extent to which differences in motivation, persistence, and resilience exist among academically achieving African-American males enrolled in high school in a mid-Atlantic suburban public school system. The research questions sought to identify quantitative and qualitative variables that might contribute to academic success. The two groups of participants in this study were tenth and eleventh grade African-American males enrolled in the general curriculum or in honors and/or advanced placement classes. All participants were maintaining a 2.5 grade point average and all high schools in the district were represented in the study. The Achievement Motivation Profile instrument was administered to 140 academically achieving African-American males. Ten percent of the sample population responded to twelve interview questions. The study tested three research hypotheses: (1) there are no statistically significant differences in the mean levels of motivation between two groups of African-American males with different academic achievement records; (2) there are no statistically significant differences in the mean levels of persistence between two groups of African-American males with different academic achievement records; (3) There are no statistically significant differences in the mean levels of resilience between two groups of African-American males with different academic achievement records. T-tests and analysis of variance were used to make comparisons between the two groups. Findings from the current study revealed no statistically significant differences in means in motivation, persistence and resilience. Four themes emerged from the interviews of African-American males enrolled in honors or advanced placement high school classes. These themes were: (1) determined and persistent parental engagement; (2) setting limits and discipline; (3) child-focused love, support, communication and modeling; and (4) community connectedness and resources. Suggestions are made to replicate the study in an urban setting, again using African-American male honors and general curriculum students; to replicate the study in a rural area where three groups of African-American male students are identified: honors, general, and a group who are performing poorly in the general curriculum.; and to replicate the study using African-American females as the subjects in a similar environment. Additionally, it is important to continue searching the literature for an instrument more sensitive to differences between levels of motivation, persistence and resilience than the Achievement Motivation Profile.