Reframing the academic trends of African American college students : applications of academic disidentification



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The current report examines the components and implications of the existing research utilizing the theory of academic disidentification. The theory of academic disidentification proposes a process that accounts for the academic disparity between the academic achievement levels of White and ethnic minority students. The premise hypothesizes that academic achievement only results from an individual’s adaptive integration of their performance in the academic domain with their identity. For ethnic minority students the academic domain presents frequent exposure to stereotype threat whether it occurs on exams or in class participation. Over time, the accumulation of these experiences promote a maladaptive process by which ethnic minority students separate their overall identity from the academic domain, thus undermining the importance of academic achievement. In addition to the analysis of the research, this paper propose a process of academic disidentification and present implications for counselors working with ethnic minority students.