Financial Inclusion Working Paper

Predicting Positive Academic Intentions Among African American Males and Females

Significant attention has been given to the educational shortcomings of African American students, especially compared to their white counterparts. By contrast, this study assesses positive predictors of educational success among 243 African-American high school sophomores. Because African American females typically have higher educational outcomes than their male peers, this study also examined these predictors by gender to better understand factors that may contribute to these differences. the study employed the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as a conceptual framework and also examined students’ self-perceptions in four domains: self-esteem, racial self-esteem, academic self-efficacy, and the importance of school completion to self. the results suggest that although most students in this study had positive prepositions towards school completion, females were more positively oriented towards academic success than males. the Theory of Planned Behavior proved to be a good conceptual model for predicting academic intentions among these youths. The amount of variance explained was significantly enhanced by the inclusion of students’ self-perceptions. Gender differences were found only in the importance of attitudes to predict intentions to complete the school year. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Subsequent publication: Davis, L. E., Saunders, J., Johnson, S., Miller-Cribs, J., Williams, T., & Wexler, S. (2003). Predicting positive academic intention among African American males and females. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 33(11), 2306–2326. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2003.tb01886.x

Project: Choices of Life for Adolescence Success (CLASS) Project


Davis, L., Saunders, J., Johnson, S., Miller-Cribbs, J., & Williams, T. (2002). Predicting positive academic intentions among African American males and females (CSD Working Paper No. 02-4). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.