An investigation of the attitudes of elementary school children toward race related concepts

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1976

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The purpose of this investigation was to determine the attitudes of third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade children toward a number of race related concepts important for cultural awareness and to determine whether there were variations in attitudes associated with the differences in school environment, sex, grade level, race/ethnicity, and level of academic achievement. Procedures The sample was randomly selected from third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades in four elementary schools. The MRP Instrument--Selected Race Related Concepts was administered to each student by the investigator. Three hundred ninety-two subjects were selected from a population of 912. Of this number 139 were Afro-Americans, 109 were Mexican Americans, and 144 were Anglo Americans. These numbers were further analyzed by grades, of which 97 were third grade, 101 were fourth grade, 100 were fifth grade, and 94 were sixth grade children. Each grade level and class was tested separately to minimize students' interaction and confusion. During the administration of the test, the teachers were asked to leave the room. The directions for the test were given orally as well as illustrated on the chalkboard to avoid penalizing the poor readers. Non-English speakers were not included in the study. The examiner presented one concept at a time for the children to rate. They were required to repeat orally the adjective pairs to assure that the terms were understood. The children were asked to respond to each concept by choosing either a positive or a negative adjective for each concept. It was hypothesized that children would have negative attitudes toward selected race related concepts; that Anglo Americans would have more negative attitudes toward selected race related concepts than Mexican Americans; that Afro-Americans would have more positive attitudes toward selected race related concepts than Mexican Americans; that females would have more positive attitudes toward race related concepts than males; that negative attitudes toward selected race related concepts would decrease with each grade level; that students attending monoracial schools would have significantly more negative attitudes toward selected race related concepts than would students in a multiracial school; that students of low achievement would have negative attitudes toward selected race related concepts; and that the greater their academic achievement, the more positive the students' attitudes toward selected race related concepts. [...]

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