Improving Student Achievement

Across America, Teachers and administrators are getting ready for state test and end of course exams. A few months after that,  various newspapers and media outlets will publicize the standardized test scores of schools.  Why are some school’s test scores not as high as their counterparts?   Why are some of those students underachieving?  One of those reasons is psychosocial factors. Psychosocial factors are self-esteem, intellectual hegemony, and low social views, and low racial identity.


Some minority students believe those students who do well are either “selling out” or acting like another race.  Some students also attribute educational success to luck or the task being easy.  When it comes to education, minority students must choose between achievement and affiliation.  Noted theorist, Abraham Maslow developed his hierarchy of needs, which states that the need to belong outweighs achievement/wisdom.  According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if a student has a conflict between the need affiliation and achievement, the student will always choose affiliation if the need to need has not been met.


The following are just a few questions that each group should ask when it comes to the attitude of themselves, their child or student toward academic achievement:



q  Do my friends have poor achievement motivation?

q  Do I need to be accepted by my peers?

q  Do I lack the need to participate in extracurricular activities?

q  Do I live in an area with environmental risk factors such as low-income housing, crime, or community disorganization?

q  Am I constantly unmotivated to do well in school?

q  Do I have low self-esteem?

q  Do I have a negative attitude towards school?

q  Do I feel intellectually inferior to students of other ethnicities?

q  Do I put forth little to no effort on tests, standardized and otherwise?



q  Is my educational level low?

q  Are there lots of dropouts in my family?

q  Do I have low academic expectations for my child(ren)?

q  Is my socioeconomic status low?

q  Do I have communication problems with my child(ren)?

q  Do I supervise my children effectively?


School Personnel

q  Do I have low expectations for my students?

q  Do I cater to students based their race?

q  Do I use an angry tone when speaking to my students?

q  Does my teaching staff have low morale?

q  Is my school culture and climate unfriendly or hostile?

q  Does my staff lack training in multicultural education?

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