Horton, D. (2015). Between a ball and a harsh place: A study of black male community college student-athletes and academic progress. Community College Review, 43(3), 287-305.
This study examined to what extent differences exist in pre-college characteristics and academic performance between Black male student-athletes and their student-athlete peers. Data provided by the Florida Department of Education’s PK-20 Education Data Warehouse (EDW) were analyzed as a function of group membership (gender and race), using descriptive analysis, cross-tabulations, and a one-way ANOVA. The sample included 513 cases, with White females comprising 36.3% of the sample, White males 24.3%, Black females 15.5%, and Black males 14.3%. Student-athletes’ academic performance was operationalized using four continuous variables (grade point average [GPA], course credit hours enrolled, course credit hours earned, and credit hours enrolled/earned ratio) and one dichotomous variable (degree completion). Findings suggest that Black males earned 72% of the credit hours they attempted, which was less than all other examined groups. Within Black males, differences between socio-economic groups were also found. Individuals identified as high socio-economic status (SES) earned approximately 82% of credit hours enrolled, compared with those identified as low SES, which earned 67% of credit hours attempted. Between-group differences were also found when examining college readiness and percentage of degrees completed. This study contributes to the extant literature on student-athletes at community and 2-year colleges by providing insight into the potential impact individual characteristics have on academic performance outcomes for Black male student-athletes. The author also provides thoughtful consideration concerning how institutions and policy changes can positively affect these outcomes.
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