Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Nina Brown

Committee Member

Steve Myran

Committee Member

Edward Neukrug


The academic performance of African American students continues to be a concern for educators, researchers, and most importantly their community. This issue is particularly prevalent in the standardized test scores of African American students where they score on average one or more standard deviations below their Caucasian and Asian American counterparts, which may hinder their college enrollment, academic achievement, and educational attainment (Diaz, 1999; Walpole et al., 2005). This issue has been examined by numerous studies and many researchers have attributed their underachievement to factors such as lower academic self-efficacy, stereotype threat, cultural test bias, and institutionalized racism (Kellow & Jones, 2008; Rosner, 2001; Steele, 1997). Despite the numerous studies that examined this issue, the academic performance of many African American students on standardized tests (i.e. SAT and GRE) remains poor (College Examination Board, 2012; ETS, 2001). This study examined the perceptions of standardized tests, standardized tests scores, academic self-efficacy, and academic performance of 247 African American graduate students, utilizing a correlational and comparative non-experimental research design. Findings from the study revealed that academic self-efficacy is a predictor of academic performance for African American graduate students. However, perceptions of standardized tests were found to not predict academic performance. In addition, standardized test scores (GRE) were not significantly related to academic performance; however, GRE scores were related and predicted academic self-efficacy. Further statistical analysis found that there was a statistically significant difference in the academic performance between African American graduate students who had either higher or lower academic self-efficacy. However, there was no statistically significant difference in the academic self-efficacy between African American graduate students with negative and positive perceptions of standardized test.


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