Dissertation: Willie Armstrong

Cohort 1, published 2010


The Role of Skills and Study Behaviors in Students of Color Who Traditionally have Low Admissions Rates to University of California


The purpose of this research was to explore the role of skills and study behaviors in students of color who traditionally have low admissions rates to the University of California. According to Choy, Horn, Núñez, and Chen (2000) one of the key factors that prevent low-income students of color from being admitted to post-secondary schools is academic preparedness. One way to look at the educational preparation of students of color is to focus on study skills and study behaviors. Study skills, as it relates to this study, focused on meta-cognition, self-efficacy, time management, academic preparation, and group study. While the admissions rates at the University of California for students of color have remained relatively the same during the Pre-Proposition 209 and Post-Proposition 209 era, the demographic makeup of California has shifted. Considering the population trend, the data indicates that not only are ethnic minority groups the majority population in California, but also that ethnic minorities will comprise of nearly 75% of the state population by the year 2050. The University of California is also cutting freshman enrollment and boosting out-of-state admissions to generate revenue in wake of the on-going budget cuts, which leaves fewer slots for California students. Tuition fee increases for California students will also impact working class and low-income families across the spectrum. Therefore, admission to UC for students of color is further limited. California’s economy depends on having an educated workforce, and therefore, it is essential that these under-represented students of color gain admission to post-secondary education. The University of California at Davis (UCD) is one of ten campuses in the University of California (UC) system. It is located in the Central Valley of California near Sacramento. UCD has the largest campus within the UC system. The Study Behavior Inventory- High School Version (SBI-HS) was administered to 77 Fall 2009 enrolled freshmen students of color (31 African American, 18 Asian American, and 28 Hispanic/Latino) from UCD. Within the groups, at least nine were male and eight were female. Inclusion or exclusion was based on the self-identification of the student. The quantitative findings were reported in the following manner: • Similarities and Differences in Meta-Cognition and Self-Efficacy Among Students of Color • Similarities and Differences in Time Management Among Students of Color • Similarities and Differences in Academic Preparation Among Students of Color • Similarities and Differences in Social Nature Among Students of Color. The results of this study indicated that all groups have opportunities to further develop the necessary skills and study behaviors. In fact, these skills and study behaviors can be taught. Further research should look at a skills and study behavior treatment group and one control group to see if academic improvement can be demonstrated.

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