Charlene Adams-Mahaley, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change
Literature has postulated that noncognitive or psychosocial variables are a strong predictor of African American and international students persisting in college. Using a modified version of the Noncognitive-Revised (NCQ-R) questionnaire developed by Tracey and Sedlacek (1984), this mixed methods descriptive study investigated the relationships among academic self-concept, realistic self-appraisal, preference for long-term goals, availability of strong support persons, living in a multicultural society, and demographic variables. The total sample size is 26 Black male college students, with 16 African Americans, and 10 African immigrant students ranging from 18 to 49 years of age.
The present study used Tinto’s and Bean’s social integration theories and Ogbu’s cultural-ecological theory as the theoretical framework, to understand Black male persistence and how students differed on the NCQ-R. To determine the meaning of noncognitive experiences relative to academic success, interviews were conducted with 10 African American and African immigrant students and thematic content was explored qualitatively. The bivariate analysis procedure with standardized regression coefficients was employed to test for interaction effects and followed up with logistic regression analyses, to examine the salient psychosocial and select demographic characteristic differences using version 15 of SPSS.
Results indicated that on the modified NCQ-R self-report instrument, four of the five scales showed predictive power in promoting academic persistence among African Americans and three of the five scales provided some importance for African immigrant college students. For African American men, positive self concept, availability of strong support persons to turn to in a crisis, realistic-self-appraisal, and living in a multicultural society were subjective predictors of persistence and an important predictor of continuous college enrollment. In contrast, for African immigrant males, positive self-concept, availability of support persons, and living in a multicultural society were positively associated with college persistence.
Somewhat consistent with social integration theory, qualitative findings yielded support that having supportive peers were positively correlated with achievement orientation, grade point average, and positive self-concept. More likely than not, these findings suggest that a positive peer support network may provide a higher level of emotional support particularly for male students of color. This is especially true for African immigrant males, whose peers played a more significant role in their lives. The implications of the descriptive findings, such as the family structure variable in relation to persistence are discussed and recommendations are made for the use of noncognitive strategies to retain African American and African immigrant male students.
Key words: African American males, African immigrant males, persistence, noncognitive, academic success, college student, community college, Noncognitive Questionnaire-Revised.