Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School Psychology


There has been a recent focus in research on a concept that centers on an individual’s ability to be persistent in the pursuit of their goals. This concept, referred to as grit, is an addition to the conversation about noncognitive measures that show promise to positively affect student academic performance. However, with the salient focus on the individual qualities that contribute to student success, it is important to avoid looking at these student qualities in isolation from the socio-ecological milieu (Ysseldyke, Lekwa, Klingbeil, & Cormier, 2012). Situating individual student qualities within Bronfenbrenner’s socio-ecological framework can be particularly helpful when seeking ways to avoid a narrowed perspective and increase cultural competence in socio-emotional interventions. This could be achieved by exploring the connection between race and academic achievement through an individual’s racial identity and the highly influential microsystem layer of adolescent peer influence. Critical Race Theory (CRT) situates this research within the need for educational research that elucidates student racial identity and its impact on academic performance. CRT posits that the racial achievement gap is fueled by a lack of understanding of race and the systemic factors that contribute to the gap (Taylor, 2006).

The present paper seeks to highlight the layered factors that can potentially help to shore this gap. Regression analysis was used to predict the moderating quality of racial identity factors, operationalized by the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI), on the connection between grit and academic performance. Intraclass correlational analysis was used to analyze the connection between of peer dyads and racial identity and hierarchical linear modeling was used to determine the moderating qualities of grit and racial identity, within the dyadic structure, on individual academic performance. Results did not indicate that the racial identity components moderate the grit-academic achievement connection, however, the racial identity quality of a shared minority experience showed predictive quality on academic performance. Results also indicate that significant variance in academic performance was accounted for by the dyadic peer structure. Results did not show that the significant dyadic dependence served as a moderating factor between grit and academic performance.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.