Identity and Academic Success among Underrepresented Ethnic Minorities: An Interdisciplinary Review and Integration

Authors

  • Moin Syed,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Minnesota
      Moin Syed, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455 [e-mail: moin@umn.edu]; Margarita Azmitia, Department of Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, SS2 Santa Cruz, CA 95064 [e-mail: azmitia@ucsc.edu] and Catherine R. Cooper, Department of Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, SS2 Santa Cruz, CA 95064 [e-mail: ccooper@ucsc.edu].
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  • Margarita Azmitia,

    1. University of California, Santa Cruz
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  • Catherine R. Cooper

    1. University of California, Santa Cruz
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Moin Syed, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455 [e-mail: moin@umn.edu]; Margarita Azmitia, Department of Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, SS2 Santa Cruz, CA 95064 [e-mail: azmitia@ucsc.edu] and Catherine R. Cooper, Department of Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, SS2 Santa Cruz, CA 95064 [e-mail: ccooper@ucsc.edu].

Abstract

A growing body of literature provides insight into the ingredients for academic success for underrepresented ethnic minority students at all points of the academic pipeline. Theory and research in developmental and social psychology, education, and sociology all point to the important role of identity for students’ academic success. The purpose of this article is to review some of the major findings across these social science disciplines to identify points of synergy that can inform effective policy recommendations. The review is structured around three points of convergence across disciplines: (1) prejudice and stereotype threat; (2) the role of social support; and (3) the availability of options for identity development. Reviewing these three topics sheds light on how the relation between identity and academic success must be understood on individual, relational, and institutional levels of analysis.

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