Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Shernoff, David J., 1967-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Academic achievement--Illinois--De Kalb; East Indian Americans--Social networks--Illinois--De Kalb; College students--Social networks--Illinois--De Kalb


Research has shown that the academic achievements of both Indian Americans and Caucasian Americans are at the top of all academic categories, from high school graduation rates to educational attainment, compared to other ethnic groups. This research aims to understand their two paths to academic success by determining what variables are associated with their success. The study was designed to explore ethnic differences in social support and academic self-efficacy between Indian American and Caucasian American undergraduate students. It also examined the differences and similarities in the influence of these constructs on academic success and educational aspirations. Two hundred Indian American and Caucasian American students volunteered and participated in the current study. Participants completed a demographic form and five surveys. The data showed that academic self-efficacy and social support had different effects on the college grade point averages and educational aspirations for Indian Americans and Caucasian Americans. Academic self-efficacy had a significant effect on college grade point averages for Caucasians, but not for Indians. The quality of Caucasians' mentoring relationships had a negative effect on their GPA. The total number of mentors had a positive effect on Caucasians' GPA. Support from both friends and family failed to be significantly higher for one ethnicity compared to the other. Regarding social support, the quality of mentoring relationships was found to be twice as high for Indians than Caucasians. Mentoring also had a significant effect on Indians' educational aspirations. The total number of mentors, however, was significantly higher for Caucasians. Support from both friends and family was not significantly higher for either ethnicity. The results of this study support theories that highlight the importance of social support on Indians' academic endeavors and academic self-efficacy for Caucasians. This study also provides support of the existing literature that the construct of self efficacy is culturally biased and questions the importance of self-efficacy for other, non-Caucasian ethnicities. This knowledge will likely shape the direction of university efforts to address the issues of concern for each of the two groups and apply what is learned towards increasing the academic success of students with similar backgrounds.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [116]-126).


ix, 144 pages




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