Minorities reached 50.4% of the American population, representing a majority for the first time, and those self-reporting as multiracial grew by a larger percentage than those reporting a single race (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). Millennials born after 1980 are the most racially diverse generation (Pew Research Center, 2014). This study investigated how racial identity and emotional intelligence might impact academic achievement among U.S. Millennial multiracial adolescents of African descent. Research suggests a student's racial identification has a significant impact on academic performance (Herman, 2009) and minority youth struggle academically (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2014). The theoretical framework included the construct of racial identity for youth of African descent, who experience high levels of actual or perceived discrimination (Parham, 2002; Sellers, Linder, Martin & Lewis, 2006; Sellers & Shelton, 2000). This secondary analysis consisted of existing survey responses and standardized academic achievement scores for 32 California high school students who self-reported as multiracial of African descent. Data included responses from the Emotional Quotient (EQ-i: YV[s]) survey, which measures emotional competencies; the Cross Racial Identity survey, which measures racial identity attitudes for those of African descent; and the California Standards Test Scores in English-Language Arts. Research questions asked whether relationships exist among emotional intelligence competencies, racial identity attitudes, and academic achievement. Findings revealed a statistically significant relationship between the Emotional Intelligence scale score of adaptability and academic achievement (Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient r = .378, n = 32, p = .033; Spearman's rank correlation coefficient ρ = .368, n = 32, p = .038). A second statistically significant relationship was found between the racial identity attitude and emotional intelligence scale scores (Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient r = .413, n = 32, p = .014). Findings support research suggesting adaptability is important for multiracial youth, involving cultural, ethnic, nationality, language, and socioeconomic issues, and a relationship exists between racial identity and academic achievement. Multiracial students represent a demographic, which should be recognized as distinct and varied, and multiracial students are at-risk. Recommendations include expanded research to inform classroom practice, enlightened educational policies, and greater social investment to support an increasingly diverse student population.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organization change; African American high school students -- California; Emotional intelligence; African Americans -- Race identity

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Davis, Kay D.;