Black students at predominatly white institutions: a motivational and self-systems approach to understanding retention
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] As the number of Black students attending college has increased (Baker & Valez, 1996), the need for programs to socially and academically support, and consequently retain, these students has also increased. However, the low rates of retention of Black students attending predominantly White institutions suggest that new ways of facilitating retention of this population of students are needed. This mixed method study questioned the applicability of traditional models of retention by proposing revisions to a traditional retention model, estimating a path model to reflect these revisions, arriving at a revised theoretical model of retention for Black students attending PWIs. The facets of the revised model were further examined qualitatively via semi-structured interviews with a sample of Black students. The estimated path model generally supported the proposed revisions to Bean and Eaton's model. Specifically, student attitudes toward the institution were shown to be precursors to their psychological processes, academic integration and intent to persist. In interviews, students acknowledged university retention efforts but questioned their sincerity. Students were also concerned with a perceived lack of respect for and inclusion of Black culture throughout campus. High school background, campus involvement, campus climate and personal goals affected students' perceptions of institutional fit. Interactions with faculty, joy of learning, familial obligations and religiosity were identified as the largest contributors to students' academic motivation.
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