The social cost to high-achieving black students for allegedly “acting white” among their peers may extend to other student groups when they are in the racial minority, according to a study in the November/December issue of Child Development.
Researchers from the University of Michigan and Boston University studied data on more than 100,000 students in grades 7-12. They compared students’ grade point averages with a measure of students’ feelings of loneliness, social support, and sense of belonging.
The authors found black and Native American adolescents each had higher social costs associated with academic success than did white students, and the social cost was greatest for students who were part of a racial minority in a high-achieving school. Students in a high-achieving school who were not in the minority, such as black students at a high-achieving, mostly black school, did not feel stigmatized for excelling.
A version of this article appeared in the December 01, 2010 edition of Education Week as Achievement Gap