Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education


The purpose of this study was to investigate characteristics of high-achieving African American students attending Grand Valley State University (GVSU).

A target population of 353 undergraduate students identifying as African American were invited to voluntarily participate in this study. These students possessed sophomore or higher status and maintained a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or greater at the time of survey distribution. 101 students completed the survey resulting in a response rate of 28.6%.

Due to the nature of the survey, descriptive statistics were utilized to report a majority of the results. However, a Chi Square Test of Independence with an alpha level of .05 was utilized, where applicable, to determine significant and non-significant relationships.

Statistically significant findings include: that high-achieving African American students who live within one hour of GVSU are more likely to possess a 3.75 to 4.00 GPA; and as GPA increases, one is less likely to consider leaving GVSU. Many additional findings are also discussed.

Expanding upon existing research, results from this study suggest that high-achieving African American students are most-frequently participating in the high-impact practices of service learning and internships. Additional expansions and affirmations of existing research are also discussed.