The Psychological Effect Of Academic Achievement Education Essay

African American pupils have the chance to gain academic accomplishment awards where pupils of their ain race are their lone competition. Each clip they receive those awards, they are reminded of the demands that had to hold been met in order to make such acknowledgment. The GPA demands for these awards normally equal the mean GPA of their Asiatic and Caucasic schoolmates. Therefore, the criterions of these awards statistically pale in comparing to the accomplishments of the Asian and Caucasic pupils. Because there are no tantamount race-specific awards given to Asian or Caucasic pupils, it is clear that there is a disagreement in what society expects from pupils of certain races academically.

These awards were created by organisations to actuate these pupils to go on their academic enterprises and possibly accomplish more. This survey attempts to measure the cogency of such awards by the specifying academic excellence for all pupils, irrespective of race. With research, the paper besides attempts to find grounds for possibly take downing the criterions for Afro-american specific awards. Taking in to account all the factors that contribute to a pupil ‘s motive, it is concluded that the awards could merely turn out to be uneffective.

Michael-Ann Henry

Ms. Emily Sigman

Senior Independent Undertaking

Spring 2010

The Psychological Consequence of Academic Achievement Awards on

African American Students

Over the past twosome decennaries, public schools and separate organisations in Montgomery County, Maryland have awarded African American and Latino pupils who display accomplishments in faculty members, leading, and sports. One of these awards was granted to an jock who maintained a 2.5 class point norm ( lone.5 above the ineligibility GPA of 2.0 ) ; another was rewarded to an African American pupil for geting a GPA of 3.0. These awards clearly exclude other populations such as Asiatic Americans and Caucasians. How is it that the pupils of those ethnicities, who typically sit on the more successful terminal of the academic accomplishment spread, are non awarded for similar achievements? Harmonizing to research, it is statistically more of a rareness for Afro-american and Latino pupils to achieve equal degrees of accomplishments when compared to Asians and Caucasians ( NAEP Studies ) . Because such achievement remains uncommon with the pupils of these races, the achievements warrant wages, in the sentiment of the organisations giving the awards. Organizations like Montgomery County ‘s African American Festival of Academic Excellence claim that they seek to “ promote and help African American pupils to endeavor for academic excellence ” by showing pupils with congratulatory certifications ( AAFAE Online ) . However, it needs to be proven whether these awards do actuate African-American and Latino pupils to prosecute more academic asperity or whether they set the saloon depression in a manner that indicates that it would be excessively hard for them to accomplish more like their Asiatic and Caucasic opposite numbers. Furthermore, a survey of the possible relationship between the awards and the achievement spread demands to be considered to measure the necessity and effectivity of these awards in our school systems. Challenged by statistical and psychological theories, the cogency of the awards and their ability to motivate more motive in African American pupils has proven, so far, to be uneffective.

Context for Evaluation of the Awards

In order to find the legitimacy of these academic awards as motivational tools, true academic excellence must be defined. A pupil ‘s grade point norm is normally the first listed demand for the awards in inquiry and therefore, apparently, the most of import and simplest manner to mensurate school performance.. In order to specify academic excellence in footings of a pupil ‘s grade point norm, the national mean GPA of all high school pupils should be considered. Harmonizing to an article by Justin Pope of the Associated Press, in the twelvemonth 2000, the national norm for GPAs was a 2.94. At that clip, the above norm public presentation could hold been defined by a GPA that surpasses 3.0. However, it was reported that in 2005 over a fifth of the high school population claimed to hold a GPA equivalent to an A norm ( Pope ) . Therefore, throughout this survey, a GPA of 3.5 is believed to outdo represent academic excellence in today ‘s society, across the racial spectrum. In short, awards with this demand are less likely to be given due to racially subjective grounds or differing outlooks of pupils based on race. Students awarded based on this demand would undeniably be considered deserving of the acknowledgment that comes with academic excellence.

Granted that academic excellence should besides be evaluated along with several other factors-such as each county ‘s assorted methods of making a class point norm, each instructor ‘s or academic section ‘s assorted rating policies, and the pupil ‘s single attempt and socioeconomic position to call a few-this survey specifically analyzes academic awards given chiefly based on grade point norms. Therefore, sorting a GPA that about indicates academic excellence for all races, a 3.5, is necessary to measure the cogency and the effectivity of the awards given to merely Afro-american pupils.

Examples of Awards Given

While based on the national norm GPA, an above norm GPA would be closer to 3.5, most of the race-specific awards do non necessitate a GPA stopping point to that estimated pot of academic excellence. Within Montgomery County Maryland, the African American Festival of Academic Excellence awards high school pupils in this county who earn a “ cumulative unweighted Grade Point Average ( GPA ) of 3.0 or above or a cumulative leaden GPA of 3.2 or above for all combined high school old ages through the first semester of the current school twelvemonth ” . Besides in the Montgomery County country, the Iota Upsilon Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, a historically Black fraternity grants the undermentioned awards based on the corresponding demands: Jesse Owens Award for jocks with outstanding devotedness to sports and a minimal GPA of 2.5 ; Paul Robeson Award for minimal 3.0 GPA ; and the W.E.B Dubois Award for lower limit of 3.5 GPA. Illustrated in Montgomery County, the disagreement conspicuously separates the races that typically perform good at the high terminal of the accomplishment spread and the races that normally fall short of the criterions of academic excellence. The bulk of the acknowledgment given to African American pupils in Montgomery County does non run into the criterion of excellence that was based upon the mean GPA in the state. Hence, there seems to be a disagreement between the likely definition of “ above norm ” for the pupils across the state ( a class point norm of 3.5 or higher ) and the likely definition of “ above norm ” for African American pupils.

Although the conditions of the listed academic awards still represent all right accomplishments, tantamount certifications and acknowledgment are non given to Asian and Caucasic pupils of in a similar race-specific manner. Based on informations from the National Assessment of Educational Progress ( NAEP ) , if organisation s were to give out the same awards to Caucasian and Asiatic American pupils that met the same demands, the sum of pupils that would have wagess would be overpowering. In contrast, there exists merely a little part of the African American pupil organic structure that reach the criterions of those academic awards. This disparity in the awarding system for pupils of different races nowadayss itself non merely in Montgomery County, but besides throughout the state. In the San Francisco Unified School District, the territory itself hosts a community event known as the Annual African American Student Honor Roll Parade and Celebration honouring “ all center and high school pupils with a 3.0 class point norm or above for the past two semesters, along with the 10 top accomplishing pupils from each simple school in the territory ” ( Robbins ) . However, the degree of acknowledgment seems indefensible when a pupil with a 3.0 does run into the same criterion to which other pupils are held for the non-race specific academic awards they would be eligible to have. Superintendent of Schools in that San Francisco territory, Waldemar Rojas, besides yearly presents a particular gold embossed plaque, “ the Academic Excellence Award ” to all Afro-american center and high school pupils with a 4.0 GPA ( Robbins ) . Even though the conditional GPA of this award seems to transcend the antecedently decided definition of academic excellence, in footings of GPA, there was no grounds that equal acknowledgment was given to pupils of other races who achieved the same.

In Seattle Public Schools ( 2003 ) , “ more than 140 African American pupils from Garfield High School [ were ] recognized for their academic accomplishment at the Ku’Onesha Awards. These pupils have achieved a class point norm of 3.0 or higher ” sponsored by the “ Parents for African American Student Excellence ( PAASE ) , a multicultural group dedicated to shuting the academic accomplishment spread at Garfield High School ” ( “ Seattle ‘s Public Schools ” ) . Therefore, the incompatibility among the awards given to pupil of assorted races becomes clear when there is no clear tantamount acknowledgment for academic accomplishment given to specifically Asians and Caucasic pupils. It is apparent that there is inequality in the presenting systems across the state ; the Afro-american pupils get awards with less demanding conditions than what the national norm GPA implies the demands should be, while the pupils of the races on the statistically better side of the academic accomplishment spread, receive no acknowledgment for equal accomplishment. The latter pupils must vie with all races to have more requirement intensive awards ( Divoky 220 ) .

Reasons for Race-Specific Academic Awards

In order to decide the evident disparity, the grounds for presenting second-rate accomplishment ( or achievement deemed mediocre for pupils of other races ) must be analyzed. Why do organisations and school systems feel that it is necessary to allow race-specific academic awards to African American pupils? The allowance of these lowered outlooks and demands for African American pupils must be argued and evaluated by statistical and historical informations Sandra Graham, who studied motive in African American pupils, define motive as a perceptual experience of the “ likeliness of achieving a end and the value ( affect ) associated with that end attainment ” ( 57 ) . Thus we must dig into the factors that influence this perceptual experience of what can be attained.

The deficit of internal motive for the bulk of African American pupils has been the beginning of argument of pedagogues across the state. One theory claims that within the African American pupil community, there is animus towards the high-achieving that stems from cultural associations, making an environment that discourages larning. Therefore, the awards may function as a physical manner to battle the verbal “ put-downs ” that can impede a pupil from accomplishing self-actualization in academe. Harmonizing to a survey performed by the University of Illinois, Afro-american high school pupils who considered themselves really good pupils were shown to be more likely to be the victims of verbal maltreatment from their equals ( Cherry ) . “ The survey farther suggests that covering with classmate squelchs can do it hard for good pupils to larn while doing it near impossible for behind to catch up ( Cherry ) . Harmonizing Fordham and Ogbu who studied internal cultural prejudice, high accomplishing African American pupils tend to be labeled by their academic strive as “ moving white ” ( 178 ) . As clarified by Tyson, Darity, and Castellino, the formation of the term, “ moving white ” was portion of a larger oppositional civilization constructed by African Americans in response to their history of captivity and favoritism. The oppositional individuality was said to be “ portion of a cultural orientation toward schooling which exists within the minority community ” ( Tyson, Darity, and Castellino 583 ) . Thus, some African Americans claim that academic accomplishment should non be extremely valued in the community because such actions have been associated with the standard norms of success among Caucasic Americans. Therefore, academic awards, specifically given to African American pupils, may hold lowered criterions for retrieval to equal this force against instruction in the African American community. The end of the awards in this instance would be to allow the pupil with assurance that what their difficult work in school is worth the possible ridicule because of the hereafter success.

School systems and private organisations would make these race-specific awards besides to possibly excite motive when pupils face hard socio-economic and place environment related issues that result in less drive to win. As indicated by the U.S. Census Bureau ‘s survey of kids younger than 18 life in households, 27 per centum of Latino kids and 30 per centum of black kids live in poorness, compared with approximately 13 per centum of white kids. Harmonizing Graham research of the motive of African American pupils old “ societal scientistsaˆ¦found it easy to associate differences between Blacks and White persons in household construction to differences in their accomplishment demands ” ( 60 ) . Graham cited George Mussen as holding conducted first comparative racial survey on the demand to accomplish, or a pupil ‘s motive. Thereafter, 18 more surveies arose that fundamentally tested for the same information, the degree of each race of pupils ‘ demand to accomplish. Seven out of 19 surveies, or 36 % , reported Whites to be higher in the demand to accomplish than Blacks, ( Graham 61 ) . Graham goes on to reason that “ even though African Americans appeared to be lower in the accomplishment motivation in these surveies, they reported educational and vocational aspirations equal to or higher than their White opposite numbers. ” This means that they were merely every bit likely as Caucasians to draw a bead on to travel to college and to come in high position professions ( Graham 66 ) Therefore the awards could be given to bring forth this demand to accomplish that compels pupils to hold higher aspirations and academic successes and hence associate the awards with the wagess that difficult work brings in the hereafter such post-secondary instruction and a steady occupation. Graham continues to indicate out the concrete correlativity between hapless socio-economic position and low motive. Therefore, the awards could supply the encouragement that their economic state of affairs knees.

The Research Center for the organisation known as Editorial Projects in Education asserts that, “ the disparities in accomplishment are frequently attributed to socioeconomic factors ” . As referenced earlier, Graham noticed that motive was lower among pupils of certain socioeconomic position, non pupils in a peculiar race. Therefore, the academic awards do non necessitate to be race specific because race entirely has no correlativity to the deficiency of motive. While the proportions of African American and Latino pupils who achieve good academically continue to increase, there is still a clear disparity between those who are rewarded for their accomplishments with relation to ethnicity. Illustrated in Montgomery County, the disagreement conspicuously separates the races that typically perform good at the high terminal of the accomplishment spread and the races that normally fall short of the criterions of academic excellence. Harmonizing to the U.S. Census Bureau ‘s survey of kids younger than 18 life in households, 27 per centum of Latino kids and 30 per centum of black kids live in poorness, compared with approximately 13 per centum of white kids. Graham goes on to reason that “ even though African Americans appeared to be lower in the accomplishment motivation in these surveies, they reported educational and vocational aspirations equal to or higher than their White opposite numbers. ” This means that they were merely every bit likely as Caucasians to draw a bead on to travel to college and to come in high position professions ( Graham 66 ) The Research Center for the organisation known as Editorial Projects in Education asserts that, “ the disparities in accomplishment are frequently attributed to socioeconomic factors ” . As referenced earlier, Graham noticed that motive was lower among pupils of certain socioeconomic position, non pupils in a peculiar race. Therefore, the academic awards do non necessitate to be race specific because race entirely has no correlativity to the deficiency of motive. Therefore, the deficiency of motive among African American pupils is non a subscriber to the accomplishment but the deficit of thrust in pupils who live in hapless economic conditions remains the job. Unfortunately, African Americans and Hispanics go on to organize the bulk of the economically down-trotted. Conversely, we must besides retrieve that non all African Americans are in economic adversity while there are several Caucasian and Asiatic American pupils in hapless socioeconomic state of affairss who can non have awards that encourage to them endeavor academically despite their state of affairs further set uping inequality within our school systems.

The Academic Achievement Gap

Although it has been concluded that African American pupils are capable of bring forthing adequate motive for great accomplishment, despite some possible obstructions, the statistics still problem pedagogues as there still clear differences between the racial groups of pupils ( see Figure1 ) .

Fig. 1. Swerve in Grade Point Average by Race/Ethnicity, “ NAEP 2005 HSTS: Grade Point Average, Entire GPA. ” NAEP. U.S. Department of Education. Web. 3 Jan. 2010. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //nationsreportcard.gov/hsts_2005/hs_gpa_3a_1.asp? tab_id=tab3 & A ; subtab_id=Tab_1 # chart & gt ; .

The mean GPA for Asian and Pacific Islander pupils throughout the U.S. surpasses all other groups with a 3.16, a class point norm higher than most of the demands for the African American particular academic awards. Black pupils remain at the bottom terminal of the GPA spectrum with a GPA of 2.69. Taking this figure in to account, school systems and private organisations that create the academic awards in inquiry clearly must hold made the demands low plenty to do certain that there would be some feasible campaigners for such awards. But if these organisations continue to further the thought that 3.0 is an academic range, some African American pupils will ne’er make above that saloon. By puting the saloon at such a degree, I hypothesize that it sends a message to African American pupils that they are hardly capable of making their opposite numbers ‘ mean tonss.

Why Awards with Mediocre Requirements Do Not Work As Incentives for Education

No affair what the grounds are for presenting African American pupils for mean work, the permanent effects of such acknowledgment and attending on mediocre accomplishments have yet to be to the full examined. Based on psychological inclinations, trying to put extrinsic value on instruction, particularly through the representation of a simple piece of paper, in attempt to supply an inducement to larn proves uneffective with striplings ( Plotnik 333 ) . In order to bring forth more of an intrinsic desire to accomplish, Henry Murray ‘s original theory on human motive must be understood. He “ observed that persons vary in their inclination or desire to make things good and vie against a criterion of excellence ” ( Graham 60 ) . Alternatively of seeking to make an inducement to larn, pedagogues who desire to shut the accomplishment spread should arouse with the intrinsic motives within pupils by puting the academic accomplishment saloon even higher.