Calling Out the Elephant: An Examination of African American Male Achievement in Community Colleges

by Edward C. Bush; Lawson Bush, V

Feb 1, 2010

This study examines the effects of community college institutional factors on the academic achievement of African American males and their perceptions of their college experience. The authors found that African American men are disproportionately underachieving in community colleges in California. African American men have greater amounts of dissatisfaction with community college and do not engage with the various segments of the college when compared to the other subgroups in the study. Two variables – faculty interaction and campus climate – predicted if African American male students transferred, had higher grade point averages, and graduated at higher rates.
  • 81 percent of all African American men enrolled in college in the state of California attend a community college.
  • Among all sub-groups, African American men are least likely to meet with faculty members or to participate in campus activities.
  • For African American males in community colleges, peer interaction has a significant correlation to GPA, transfer rate, and degree attainment.
  • Institutional factors, specifically faculty interaction and student involvement, have predictive validity in determining African American male student achievement.
  • To improve African American males' academic achievement, community colleges must create and foster an institutional environment that targets their needs and concerns.