Volume 6

The Effect of Ethnicity on Personal and Perceived Self-Esteem, Academic Performance, and Feelings of Acceptance

Diala Alkhalil and Ana Restrepo

This study was designed to examine the impact interracial classrooms has on college students’ self-esteem, academic achievements, and classroom climates. Participants included Caucasian (n = 61) and ESL (n = 39) students who were randomly assigned to reading one of the two scenarios, depicting school integration difficulties of either a Hispanic or Caucasian student. Participants then rated the hypothetical students’ academic achievement and self-esteem, as well as provided information regarding personal history of discrimination, ethnic identity, self-esteem, fear of receiving negative evaluations, academic achievement anxieties, and motivation to control racism. Analyses indicated that self-esteem was an important predictor of participants’ social anxieties, academic anxieties, ethnic identity and motivation to control racism. Self-report measures suggest that the ethnic identity of ESL students was higher than that of Caucasian students. Scenario analyses indicate that ESL students rated the depicted Hispanic student as having lower self-esteem and academic achievement than the Caucasian character.

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