Journal of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research


Concern has been expressed about the poor academic performance of African American students, in comparison to their other ethnic counterparts. Many individuals have attempted to explain this anomaly. A large portion of studies show how socioeconomic standing and parental involvement play a role in the academic achievement gap. A more modest amount used psychological factors to explain the deplorable academic achievement in African Americans. One such psychological factor, self-efficacy, was not well represented in the literature; few papers discussed the association of self-efficacy and African American academic success. The purpose of this study was to compare self-efficacy levels of individuals from differing ethnic groups. The study was non-experimental and used a survey methodology as a means to collect data. A 14-question survey was created, with questions that ascertained self-efficacy, ethnicity, gender, age, class standing, academic discipline, and perceived academic success. The sample of convenience consisted of 394 students from Southern Adventist University. Results showed that there were no significant differences in self-efficacy among differing ethnic groups, academic disciplines, or along the spectrum of age. However, the results did find a statistically significance gender difference in self-efficacy, with males toting higher scores, and a positive correlation between GPA and self-efficacy. This research can help explain how different sexes and ethnic groups believe in their capabilities and this can be extrapolated to academia, to answer the question of achievement gaps.