Manifesting status and expectations: Determinants of college persistence among African American male students




Grice, Christopher

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Despite a growing body of literature on college persistence and completion patterns for students of color, there is a lack of published literature that examines the academic success of African American male college students in direct comparison to their African American female counterparts. To fill this gap, this dissertation systematically examines the determinants of persistence and completion among male African American college students in comparison with female African Americans. Three research questions guide this study. First, what factors influence the persistence of African American male college students? Second, what are the most important factors in college persistence and completion for African American male students? Finally, how do the determinants of college persistence and completion resemble or differ between African American male students and their female counterparts?

This study develops a modified sociocultural model that is built on models of student integration; student attrition; student retention, and status construction theory, and critical race theory. To test the theoretical framework and hypotheses, this study uses the latest and largest nationally representative sample of African American first-time-beginning college students from the 2004/09 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/09) conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). The main method of analysis is logistic regression analysis because the dependent variables are dichotomous.

The results show factors influencing African American male collegians’ persistence behavior differ across the three time periods but are primarily categorized as collegiate performance variables. The most important factors in male African American college student persistence and completion differ in each time period. The common determinants of persistence and completion for both male and female college students are primarily performance variables.

This dissertation makes a number of significant scholarly and practical contributions. First, this dissertation is the only quantitative, comparative study of the college persistence and completion of male African American students and their female counterparts utilizing a large nationally representative sample of African American students. This study also proposes a framework for predicting the college persistence and completion of male African American students that incorporates dominant student persistence models and embraces culturally responsive explanations of the phenomenon.



Academic achievement, African American college students, College students