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Effects of Ethnic/Racial Identification on Case-Based Learning Outcomes in a Psychology Course at a Historically Black College/University

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African American students tend to have better learning outcomes if they can identify with the educational process. Two types of schemata may account for the influence of ethnic/racial identification on learning outcomes: the schema that reflects the ethnic/racial or cultural identity of African American students, and a second schema paradigm that is the relational schema induction theory. Ethnic/racial identification with a learning task facilitates Black students' ability to identify the relations among the elements of the task, create a mental analog, and apply it to novel learning situations. This notion was tested in a post hoc evaluation of a case-based learning approach to teaching abnormal psychology to a class of 39 undergraduate students at a historically Black college or university (HBCU). This study compared case studies about an African American, European American, and Native American in terms of their effect on learning outcomes. The hypothesis was that the African American case would be associated more strongly with learning outcomes. Results from structural equation modeling analyses supported the hypothesis. Implications for teaching and learning among African American students are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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