Predicting Positive Academic Intention Among African American Males and Females1


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    This study was supported by funding from the National Institute of Health, Maternal and Child Health Division #MJC-290644 and by the Center for Social Development at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Larry E. Davis, School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, 2117 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. E-mail:


Significant attention has been given to the educational shortcomings of African American students. This study examined predictors of educational success among African American high school sophomores. It explored factors that predict differences in students’ academic intention to complete the school year, and how these factors differ by gender. The study was guided conceptually by the theory of planned behavior (TPB). We also assessed perceptions of self. Results indicated that most students had positive predispositions toward school-year completion, with females being more positively oriented toward academic success than males. The TPB's attitude component was the only predictor tested to operate differentially across gender. Having a positive attitude toward school was a significantly greater predictor of intention to complete the school year for males than for females.