Thinking About Makin' it: Black Canadian Students Beliefs Regarding Education and Academic Achievement

Smith, A., Schneider, B., & Ruck, M. (2004). “Thinking About Makin’ It”: Black Canadian Students’ Beliefs Regarding Education And Academic Achievement. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 347-359.

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Black Canadians share many aspects of the historical experiences of African Americans, but there are also important differences. One similarity between these two groups is the persistent academic underachievement of Black adolescents. Although this is a subject of widespread concern in both countries, it has received little empirical scrutiny in Canada. We address this shortcoming by examining the academic and achievement-related beliefs of Black high school students in two Canadian cities, Toronto and Halifax. Despite significant regional differences most participants believed that schooling could lead to success for them. Females’ attitudes and beliefs regarding education were more positive than those of males. Perceived parental values and support were strong predictors of participants’ attitudes and school marks; socioeconomic status (SES) and perceived peer support were non-significant correlates of academic outcomes. We discuss the results in terms of the germane US research, and highlight the implications of the findings for understanding diversity among Black Canadian youth.