Academic Disidentification, Race, and High School Dropouts

An important predictor of whether students remain in school or withdraw is their ability to identify with academics. Consistent with Ogbu's (1992) cultural inversion and Steeles (1992) stereotype threat hypotheses, research has shown that Black and Hispanic students tend to demonstrate higher levels of academic disidentification relative to Asian and White students. The present study was conducted to learn whether Black and Hispanic students, when compared to Asian and White students, show further evidence of disidentification from academics when deciding to withdraw from school. Data were collected from 132,903 high school students in Florida, USA. Results from the data analysis are consistent with the disidentification hypothesis. Specifically, both Black and Hispanic students appear to place less importance on academic achievement than do either Asian or White students when considering school withdrawal. Potential limitations of this research and methods for addressing disidentification are discussed.