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Open Access Publications from the University of California

School Context, Ethnic Identity, and Attributions for Failure in Urban Middle Schools

  • Author(s): Chase, Manisha Kaur
  • Advisor(s): Graham, Sandra
  • et al.

School context, ethnic identity, and attributions for failure may be possible factors behind students’ decline in performance during middle school. Using data from a survey of 1,735 urban eighth-graders throughout California, the current study seeks to explore the relationship between school context, ethnic identity, and attributions for failure. Results suggest citing external attributions for failure are not protective of academic achievement across the board, highlighted by ethnic group differences. Additionally, ethnic identity was found to have differential effects on academic achievement given varying same-ethnic peer contexts. Understanding how ethnic identity affects students’ encounters with failure in urban contexts is important for designing supports to help students persevere.

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