School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Elgen Hillman


Academic Motivation, African American Culture, Racial-Ethnic Identity


The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between racial-ethnic identity and academic motivation of African American high school students. African Americans have had a tumultuous history that has affected access to education. This study represents a significant contribution to educational research by extending the understanding of policy makers and curriculum developers to create meaningful curricula that support all students’ educational growth. A bivariate regression analysis was used to determine whether there is a significant relationship between African American students’ sense of connectedness, embedded achievement, awareness of racism, and academic motivation. The sample included 84 high school students enrolled in a southeastern Virginia high school; each participant completed the Racial/Ethnic Identity Scale and the Academic Motivation Scale. A bivariate correlation found a weak significant correlation between a sense of connectedness and academic motivation. There was no significant relationship between embedded achievement or awareness of racism and academic achievement. Recommendations for future research include examining participants’ socioeconomic status and conducting a qualitative study to examine racial/ethnic identity and academic motivation of different demographic populations. This study will help curriculum developers and policy makers support academic achievement of African American high school students.