A comparative analysis of African American male and female students' perception of factors related to their persistence at a Texas community college



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The purpose of this study was to identify and compare factors of persistence of African American male and female students within a Texas community college. This evaluative study contributed to the literature by producing 6 significant finds of African American students’ persistence at Brookhaven community college. The interactive qualitative analysis methodology (Northcutt et.al.,1998) was utilized to interview eight African American male students and eight African American female students regarding their perception of factors impacting their persistence. The results of this study contributed to theory and practice. New knowledge was added to the theory of African American male and female students’ ability to persist at Brookhaven College by comparing their factors of persistence. Finally this study contributed to practice by prescribing specific retention program to improve African American male students’ persistence. One of the major significant findings was that African American male students identified nine factors impacting their persistence, while the African American female students identified ten factors. The male students’ factors are as follows: 1) Family Influence, 2) College Resources and Services, 3) College Climate, 4) Personal Motivators, 5) Self-esteem, 6) Self-determination, 7) Seeking Assistance, 8) Goal-setting, and 9) Coping with Stereotyping. The female students’ factors are as follows: 1) Family Influence, 2) Institutional Impact, 3) Friends’ Support, 4) Faith in God, 5) Finding Funds, 6) Self-confidence, 7) Networking, 8) Skills, 9) Sense of Responsibility, and 10) Personal Motivators. Another significant finding was that the African American female students applied more relationship-type factors toward their persistence than the African American male students. While much remains to be learned about African American female and male students’ factors of persistence, this study initiated important new research. Future research should explore African American students’ persistence in different states. They may have different perceptions about their persistence based on where they live.