Another Look at the Achievement Gap: Learning From the Experiences of Gifted Black Students


Many studies have been conducted on the achievement gap, with most findings pointing to how school and family variables affect Black students’ achievement. Another body of work focuses on how social variables (i.e., peers) impact Black students’ achievement, including how accusations of “acting White” affect the performance of Black students and contribute to the achievement gap. The current descriptive and exploratory study extends this work by examining peer pressure among Black students identified as gifted (n = 166). As part of a larger study, gifted Black 5th through 12th graders were surveyed regarding their achievement-related attitudes and behaviors and perceptions of “acting White” and “acting Black.” Many of the gifted Black students demonstrate an attitude-behavior discrepancy, face negative peer pressures, and attribute acting White to school achievement, intelligence, and positive school behaviors and attitudes; most attribute acting Black to negative school achievement, low intelligence, and poor behaviors and attitudes. Recommendations are provided.

Level of Effort: 
Resource Type: 
Education Level: