The desire to finish : a quantitative study examining the motivation of Black students at predominantly White institutions.


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Since the mid 1980s, attrition rates for Black students have steadily increased, yet educational institutions have not created opportunities to help Black student succeed as much as their White counterparts (Lang, 2001; Martin, 2012). The significance of the increasing attrition rates is evident by the gap in performance-based traditional indicators such as grade point average and retention (Kaplan & Maehr, 1999; Lang, 2001; Museus et al., 2018). Despite governmental efforts such as desegregation and affirmative action, Black students are dropping out of higher education institutions at an alarming rate. Researchers have identified a plethora of factors to explain the performance gap; however, those factors do not fully explain the underperformance of Black students (Isik et al., 2018). Ramist (1980) states that determining students’ motivation is critical in their persistence and should be the focus of attrition research. A common hypothesis within the literature describing the performance gap is that Black students lack the motivation to achieve academic success. This problem of practice sought to test and challenge that hypothesis. Providing a better understanding of what motivates Black student that choose to attend a Predominantly White Institutions will shed light on their persistence and academic performance (Martin, 2012). This problem of practice dissertation utilized a quantitative study to examine four research question. The study used a criterion based purposeful sampling method to recruit n=393 participants from a total of 226 Predominately White Institutions. Participants were recruited over two weeks using various social media platforms. All participants signed a consent form, identified as Black, and attended a Predominantly White Institution for at least one semester. The researcher addressed the questions using frequencies, descriptive statistics, Kendall’s Tau b correlation analysis, Mann-Whitney U test, and a binary logistic regression. The results indicated that Black students who attended a Predominantly White Institution are both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated. Also, there is no statistical difference between motivation scores for male and female students. The study also revealed that Self-Determination Theory might not be the most appropriate framework to determine the motivation of Black students who attended a Predominately White Institution.



Black student success. Motivation.