Higher education has experienced a significant transformation in recent years due to globalization. The majority of students in universities study in cross-cultural settings facing carious factors that facilitate or obstruct the learning process. The purpose of the present project is to identify determinants that affect the academic achievements of students from minority groups in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings.
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The literature review identified a significant gap in research, which the current paper aims to address. The present study makes five hypotheses and tests them using quantitative methods, including two-samples t-test, correlation analysis, and regression analysis. A total of 94 students were surveyed to gather relevant data using a six-item questionnaire designed specifically for the present research. The research results revealed that a grade point average of students from minority groups is influenced by relationships with parents and tutors, discipline on campus, and communicativeness.
The present paper provides an in-depth review and analysis of recent literature concerning the subject, describes the methods that were used for the present research, discusses and evaluates its results, and draws conclusions with recommendations for future research.
Globalization has significantly affected the education process worldwide due to the increased number of students studying in cross-cultural settings. The number of international students worldwide is growing exponentially every year, which poses significant challenges to higher education institutions. UNESCO reports that the number of international students has grown from 2 million in 2000 to 5.3 million in 2017 , which is more than 250% in 17 years.
Moreover, immigration is also an essential factor that contributes to the fact that modern higher education institutions need to adapt to provide services for students with diverse cultural backgrounds. According to Kumi-Yeboah and Smith, the number of immigrants in the United States was over 14 million in 2014, and it is growing rapidly . The children of immigrants represent around a quarter of all the students in the United States . Considering these two factors, the problem of providing high-quality cross-cultural settings is of extreme importance for higher education institutions.
In order to organize a learning process in an adequate manner, it is vital to appreciate the barriers students can encounter. Cross-cultural settings may be associated with significant issues concerning the performance of students. In particular, students from minority groups may face language barriers, acculturative stress, racism, xenophobia, cultural discrimination, and changes in the curriculum .
These problems may affect the academic achievements of students as well as their emotional state. Universities are to be aware of risk factors that may hinder the academic success of their students to design interventions and programs to support cultural minorities and ensure positive learning outcomes. Moreover, students’ awareness about the determinants that affect their academic performance may motivate them to change their behavior.
The purpose of the present paper is to identify factors that affect minority students’ performance in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings. The study was guided by the following research questions:
- Question 1: What are the factors that positively affect the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings?
- Question 2: What are the factors that have a negative impact on the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings?
The paper includes five chapters dedicated to specific issues. In Chapter 2, the paper provides a literature review of the issue discussed in recently published scholarly articles. The review helps to identify the gaps in current knowledge and create a list of possible factors that may contribute to improvements in the academic performance of students in cross-cultural settings. This section is also used to select and justify methodologies for answering the research question. Chapter 3 describes the chosen methods, including identified variables, questionnaires, and data collection procedures.
In Chapter 4, the paper discusses the statistical tests and summarizes the results of the research. The results are critically evaluated, and the implications of the findings are stated. Moreover, the chapter includes an evaluation of the project in terms of cost, environmental impact, ethics, social and political impact, health and safety, and sustainability. The final chapter provides conclusions drawn from the project, validates the need for the study, and explains how the identified problem was solved.
Evaluation of literature
The factors that affect students’ academic performance in higher education institutions are well-studied. Sibanda, Iwu, and Benedict conducted quantitative research to identify the factors that predetermine the high performance of students in a South African university . The study was conducted using a sample of 94 second-year students studying entrepreneurship, among which 19 participants represented cultural minorities. The top five factors that predetermined academic success are attending lectures, completing all the assignments, commitment, dedication, self-motivation, and self-confidence .
At the same time, noisy lecture environment, not finishing the assignments, insufficient effort, lack of communication between students and lecturer, and not attending lectures and seminars are associated with poor academic performance . The authors declare that the findings are consistent with other studies, and the research contributes to the current body of knowledge by confirming the results with rigorous quantitative methods . However, the sample size is limited to less than a hundred students from one university, which limits the generalizability of the study. Therefore, further research is needed to confirm the results.
Managerial practices are also believed to be vital for improving learner outcomes in education institutions. Di Liberto, Schivardi, and Sulis conducted a fundamental assessment of the effect of management methods in educational facilities in several European countries using the World Management Survey . The results reveal that student performance is positively correlated with the principal’s administrative capabilities .
In other words, when designing interventions aimed at improving the performance of students, it is vital to consider the principal’s qualifications. The study is characterized by high validity and reliability of results due to numerous robustness checks. The findings significantly contribute to the current body of knowledge due to high generalizability. However, while the results of this research are important, their applicability for the present paper is limited.
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A recent study by Wang, Guo, and Degol identifies motivation as one of the critical factors for academic success among all students . According to the research, motivation is modifiable, which means that it can be improved using specialized techniques. A cross-cultural approach revealed that there are differences in motivation across countries . This implies that interventions for improving academic motivation are to be adjusted to cultural differences.
Even though the research results are a considerable contribution to current knowledge, they are of limited use for the project. The researchers examined motivation in schoolchildren rather than in university students. However, the results can still be utilized to understand the implications and limitations of the present project. At the same time, the study can be referenced in terms of methods, since it uses self-reported data obtained using questionnaires and analyzed with statistical software. The method seems appropriate for the present study as well since it is increasingly cost-efficient, valid, and reliable.
In terms of cross-cultural settings, it is vital to consider two groups of cultural minorities: immigrants and international students. A study by Kumi-Yeboah and Smith interviewed a group of sixty Ghanaian-born immigrant students to identify factors that affect academic performance . The researchers concluded that resilience to succeed, teacher and parent support, positive school environment are associated with improved learner outcomes . At the same time, racism, classism, xenophobia, acculturative stress, changes in curriculum, language, and cultural discrimination were mentioned as challenges to the academic success of students .
While the research provides vital information for the present project, there are some limitations to the findings. First, the results are applicable only to students in Tampa Bay, USA, which has a long history of discrimination against African Americans. Second, the results were obtained using qualitative methods, which limits the reliability and validity of findings. Finally, the researchers focused on children in schools rather than in higher education institutions. However, the study is useful for identifying variables for the present project.
Cultural minorities may outperform their native counterparts due to their specific characteristics. Research by Mady revealed that immigrant children have a higher motivation to learn French in Canadian schools . Immigrants show better academic results due to being linguistically diverse . The results were obtained using rigorous qualitative methods, which means that the findings are of high validity and reliability.
However, the research is of limited applicability to the present project since they do not identify any factors that affect the academic performance of students other than motivation. At the same time, the fact that motivation is discussed by multiple studies suggests that self-reported motivation should appear as one of the independent variables for the present research. The inclusion of this variable is expected to confirm that motivation is equally crucial for higher education students in cross-cultural settings.
Despite increased motivation, immigrant students may underperform due to teachers’ poor attitude towards them. A study by Wedin suggests that many teachers seem to support “deficiency theory,” which implies that students of different cultural backgrounds have lower abilities to learn . According to Wedin, “students who were denoted as immigrant children tended to be kept apart, side-stepped and subordinated in ways that diminished their range of personal initiative” .
Even though the insights provided by the research are valuable, they were obtained using interviews with elementary school students, which may be associated with a considerable chance of error. Qualitative methods are also associated with decreased reliability and validity of the study. However, while the study was performed using a sample of elementary school students, its findings are still partially relevant for the present project since teachers’ attitudes can also influence the performance of students in higher education institutions. Therefore, the reported racial bias of teachers may be used as one of the independent variables for the present project.
International students should also be considered while discussing factors that affect university students’ performance in cross-cultural settings. In his study, Banjong claims that international students may be at a disadvantage due to the inability to use campus resources, such as student success centers, international centers, writing centers, and counseling centers. The research claims that shyness, lack of language proficiency, and acculturation are the primary reasons for underusing student resources . At the same time, Banjong suggests that stress due to homesickness, loneliness, and financial pressures also has a considerable impact on students’ academic performance .
The study utilizes Pearson’s r as the primary method for defining correlations between different variables, which seems appropriate for the study. The methods and research results are beneficial for the present project. Correlation analysis can be used to analyze self-reported data from questionnaires, along with two sample t-tests and regression analysis. Moreover, the present project can also use the variables identified by Banjong to improve the generalizability of the findings.
The results obtained by Banjong are consistent with the research findings of other scholars. For instance, Li, Chen, and Duanmu suggest that English proficiency, perceived importance of learning success to family, and communication with compatriots positively affects the academic performance of international students . In other words, the study confirms that language proficiency is of extreme importance for international students. Moreover, university students are affected by the beliefs and expectations of their families . On the one hand, the effect of the family is positive because increased expectations motivate the student to achieve high academic results .
On the other hand, pressure from family members may be associated with increased stress and anxiety, which can negatively affect students’ achievements . At the same time, communication with compatriots helps to fight loneliness and homesickness, which is vital for decreasing stress . The research results are characterized by increased reliability and validity due to the utilization of diversified quantitative methods, including t-test analysis, regression, and correlation analysis. Moreover, the sample size of 178 participants and the strategies for picking the sample also contribute to the trustworthiness of the results. All the methods used by this research seem to be applicable to the present project.
A literature review by Mesidor and Sly provides significant insights into the adaptation process of international students . According to the study, international students go through psychological adjustment, cultural adjustment, social adjustment, academic adjustment .
The process is associated with increased stress, which negatively affects the academic achievements of the group . However, the difference in academic performance between international students and their native counterparts decreases with time . While the study provides valuable information for the present project, its findings and methods cannot be used. The factors identified by Mesidor and Sly are challenging to quantify, which limits their use for quantitative studies. Moreover, the study does not have explicit results and conclusion sections, which limits the applicability of the article.
Family influence is also of extreme importance for academic success in students. De Boer and van der Werf suggest that parents’ misaligned aspiration has a low to medium effect on the academic performance of students . The researchers examined data obtained from 10,433 Dutch students observed for five years . The article suggests that teacher expectation bias, which subsequently influences student performance .
The research results adhere to the golden standard of the scientific method, and therefore its reliability and validity are high. However, the results are applicable only to Dutch students, which is a considerable limitation of the findings. The article can be used to set dependent and independent variables for the present project. Moreover, it can be utilized for justifying selected research methods.
Gong, Marchant, and Cheng report that family income, parents’ aspiration, language proficiency, lack of conflict, father’s and mother’s education, and family cohesion positively affect the academic performance of students in cross-cultural settings . The results are confirmed using a sample of 4,686 students using an analysis of variances (ANOVA) and regression techniques. Therefore, the results of the study are characterized by high validity and reliability, and the findings are coherent with prior research. Moreover, the results are high generalizable due to the diversification of the sample. In other words, there is a high certainty that emotional factors associated with family relationships contribute to the academic achievements of students. However, family income and parent-child conflict were identified to have the most impact on grade point average (GPA).
At the same time, family education aspiration was a determinant in Asian students, while Hispanic students were not affected by the matter . This suggests that factors that influence a student’s performance are not universal and depend on cultural background.
Summary of findings
The literature revealed that factors affecting the performance of students in cross-cultural settings are widely discussed in the recent research literature. All the factors can be divided into three categories according to the stakeholder responsible for modifying them. The first category includes aspects connected with the organizational culture of the higher education institution. The review of eleven articles demonstrates that the abilities of the upper management of universities have a considerable impact on the academic performance of students in cross-cultural settings .
Upper management sets standards for teachers and makes sure that the facility has all the needed resources to provide education to culturally diverse students. The attitude of teachers also predetermines the performance of students since teaching staff may discriminate against cultural minorities and refuse to provide due attention to their problems .
At the same, well-prepared open-minded faculty can enhance the academic achievements of cultural minority students by effective communication and care for the unique needs of immigrants and international students. Moreover, strict discipline in higher education institutions can improve the performance of students making it unacceptable to skip lectures and classes without a viable reason. Therefore, efficiently designed interventions and diversity training of university staff can positively be associated with the academic success of students.
The second category includes factors connected to the characteristics and behavior of students. The literature review suggests that lack of motivation, depression, loneliness, homesickness, lack of communication with compatriots, language barriers, and acculturative stress negatively affects the academic performance of students from minority groups in high education institutions . At the same time, self-discipline, self-efficacy, determination, language proficiency, and communicativeness can boost students’ academic achievements . The aspects of motivation, diligence, and acculturation are well studied, while the influence of gender, relationships between lecturers and students, and lack of interest are underappreciated. Therefore, it may be useful to aim at closing this gap in current knowledge.
The third category includes the influence family background has on the performance of students. Family income, parents’ education, and language proficiency positively affect the academic achievements of students in cross-cultural settings . The effect can be improved by aspiration, lack of parent-child conflicts, and family cohesion .
However, the findings of different studies using rigorous quantitative methods are controversial; therefore, additional research is required in the field to confirm or disprove the results of previous research. In particular, parent education aspiration is associated with the improved performance of international students from Asia, while it has minimal effect on Hispanic students. At the same time, the parent-child conflict had a limited effect on students from Asia and a significant influence on the GPA of Hispanic students. Therefore, additional research is needed to appreciate if the relationship with parents has a statistically significant effect on the performance of students in cross-cultural settings.
In summary, the literature review helped to identify a significant gap in the current body of knowledge concerning the factors that influence the performance of students. Some factors, such as aspiration, language mastery, level of family income, and motivation, are well studied. However, there is not enough evidence to prove that communicativeness, positive relationships with family, tutor-student relationships, and strict discipline have a statistically significant effect on the performance of students from cultural minority groups.
In particular, the aspect of increased communication with other students is touched upon only in two studies out of eleven reviewed in the present paper. The effect of being communicative, however, is unclear. On the one hand, it can improve psychological well-being, while, on the other hand, it can distract from studies. The findings concerning positive relationships with family are controversial, and the tutor-student relationship is only briefly discussed by Sibanda, Iwu, and Benedict .
The factor of strict discipline is not discussed in any of the reviewed literature. However, several studies noted that attendance of lectures, finishing all assignments in due time, and studying for all seminars have a positive effect on academic performance. Therefore, it may be hypothesized that strict discipline in higher education facilities positively influences the average GPA. There is also no research acknowledging the differences in performance between males and females.
The present project aims at contributing to closing the gap in the current knowledge using highly viable and reliable quantitative methods. The literature review revealed that while qualitative methods are essential for gathering information for the elaboration of hypotheses, quantitative methods should be used to test them. The majority of reviewed studies utilizing statistical tests used two-sample t-tests, ANOVA, Pearson’s r, and regression analysis. The methods of the current study will be selected and described in Chapter 3 of the present paper.
The literature review helped to formulate the following hypotheses, which aim at closing the gap in current knowledge:
- Hypothesis 1: There is no statistically significant difference in academic performance between male and female students from cultural minority groups in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions.
- Hypothesis 2: Positive relationships with family (PRF) positively affects the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions.
- Hypothesis 3: Strict discipline on campus positively affects the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions.
- Hypothesis 4: Communicativeness positively affects the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions.
- Hypothesis 5: Positive tutor-student relationships (PTSR) positively affect the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions.
Tool and Data Gathering
Six types of data needed to be gathered in order to answer the research question and test the hypotheses. GPA was utilized as the most convenient way of measuring students’ performance, which was identified as a dependent variable. Gender, PRF, communicativeness, discipline, and PTSR were identified as independent variables. It was decided to use self-reported data since it is the most efficient way of gathering and quantifying qualitative data.
In order to gather the needed data, a questionnaire in Google Forms was created, which included six questions. For Question 1, the participants were asked to state their gender by choosing between M and F, which corresponded to male or female. For Question 2, the students were asked to state their current GPA to the second decimal place using a dot as a separator. For Questions 3-6, the participants were asked to evaluate how strongly they agreed with the statement with “1” being “completely disagree” and “10” being “fully agree.” The questions are presented below:
- Are you a male or a female?
- What is your current Grade Point Average (GPA)?
- I have positive relationships with my family.
- I am a highly communicative person.
- Discipline in my higher education institution is very strict.
- My relationships with all of my tutors can be characterized as positive.
The survey was distributed among international and immigrant students all over the world using Facebook. The questionnaire can be seen in Appendix A. The participants were randomly chosen from Facebook groups of international and immigrant students. The selected people were sent a link to Google Forms with the following message attached:
Hello! I am doing research for my graduation project studying factors that affect the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings. I would be grateful if you could help me and answer six questions I created in Google Forms. It will take you less than a minute! Please, ignore this message if you do not currently study in a higher education institution in cross-cultural settings or do not belong to a minority group. Thanks in advance! Here is the link to the survey:
A total of 500 messages were sent out, and 94 people completed the survey, among which 38 were females, and 56 were males. The results show that, on average, students from cultural minorities have a GPA of 3.42. The surveyed students have mostly positive relationships with their parents (mean 7.07 out of 10), while their relationships with tutors are around 6 out of 10. The self-reported communicativeness of students from cultural minority groups is 5.35 out of 10, while the perceived discipline in their higher education universities is quantified as 5.85 out of 10. Their slight differences in data collected from males and females. The descriptive statistics of the sample by gender are represented in Table 3‑1 below. The full data set can be viewed in Appendix B.
Table 3‑1. Descriptive Statistics of the Sample by Genderutilized tests.
Three types of tests were selected to test the identified hypotheses. While the literature review suggested that similar studies are conducted using two-sample t-tests, ANOVA, Pearson’s r, and regression analysis, the research design and the dataset suggest that the use of ANOVA is inappropriate. ANOVA is usually used to identify if there are statistically significant differences between the means of several groups.
Since the present study identifies only two groups (males against females), the use of ANOVA seems irrational. Even though the test is applicable, the utilization of a two-sample t-test was regarded as a more appropriate method to compare the means of two sets of data. In other words, a two-sample t-test was selected to test Hypothesis 1, which assumed that there is no statistical difference in academic performance between male and female populations.
For testing Hypotheses 2-5, it was agreed to use two types of tests, including regression analysis and Pearson’s correlation analysis. Regression analysis is used to identify relationships between a set of independent variables and the dependent variable. In other words, when research aims at predicting a dependent variable using independent variables, regression analysis should be utilized. Correlation analysis, of Pearson’s r, is used to quantify the relation between two variables, which helps to identify how much one variable changes when the other one does. Both of the tests seem appropriate to test the hypotheses. Moreover, the use of both methods is expected to increase the reliability of the research findings.
All the tests were conducted using Minitab 19 to ensure accuracy. Initially, it was argued to use Microsoft Excel since it is one of the most widely used spreadsheet software. However, statistical analysis functions and graphing functions in excel required manual manipulation of data, which is associated with an increased risk of error. Therefore, the latest version of Minitab was purchased to ensure the positive outcomes of the research. All the tables and graphs with statistical results included in the present paper are imported from Minitab 19.
Results, Discussion, and Evaluation
In order to test Hypothesis 1, a two-sample t-test assuming equal variances was used to compare the means of GPA between males and females. Before the t-test, the variances were analyzed to ensure that the correct t-test is used. The method for testing Hypothesis 1 is represented in Table 4‑1 below.
|μ₁: mean of GPA when Gender = F|
|µ₂: mean of GPA when Gender = M|
|Difference: μ₁ – µ₂ |
α = 0.05
Equal variances are assumed for this analysis.
Table 4‑1. Method for Hypothesis 1.
Test results revealed that there is no statistically significant difference between μ₁ and µ₂, which means that Hypothesis 1 is confirmed. Therefore, it can be stated with 95% certainty that there is no statistically significant difference in academic performance between male and female students from cultural minority groups in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions. The summary of the test results for Hypothesis 1 is represented in Table 4‑2 below.
|Null hypothesis||H₀: μ₁ – µ₂ = 0|
|Alternative hypothesis||H₁: μ₁ – µ₂ ≠ 0|
Table 4‑2. Test Results for Hypothesis 1.
Correlation analysis revealed several statistically significant relationships between identified variables. The correlation analysis results matrix is represented in Table 4‑3 below. According to these results, there are no strong correlations between any of the analyzed variables. However, there moderate and weak interrelationships, which are significant for the present research. In particular, there are moderate correlations between PRF and GPA and discipline and GPA, which confirms Hypotheses 2 and 3. Moreover, there are weak correlations between communicativeness and GPA and PTSR and GPA, which provides support for Hypotheses 4 and 5. While these results are statistically significant, additional tests are needed to accept or reject the hypotheses.
|Sample 1||Sample 2||N||Correlation||95% CI for ρ||P-Value|
Table 4‑3. Correlation Analysis Results Matrix.
There are other results of the correlation analysis that need to be reported even though their relevance for the present project is questionable. First, there is a medium correlation between discipline and PRF, which means that strict discipline in higher education institutions can positively impact the relationships between students and their parents, which does not appear intuitive. Second, there are statistically significant correlations between communicativeness and PTSR. This implies that communicative students have a higher chance of acquiring positive relationships with tutors, which is predictable.
However, such correlation may also mean that PTSR improves students’ self-esteem, which, in turn, positively affects communicativeness. Third, there is a weak negative correlation between discipline and communicativeness. This means that in a stricter environment, students tend to be less talkative. However, the correlation is statistically insignificant (p=0.302); therefore, additional research is required to confirm or reject the idea.
Even though correlation analysis provided significant insights on relationships between PRF and GPA, regression analysis is needed to confirm the results. The results of the test are represented in Figure 4‑1 below. According to the analysis, 30.3% of changes in GPA can be explained by fluctuation in PRF. The results of the test are statistically significant (p<0.001), which means that PRF can be viewed as a variable that influences the performance of students from minority groups in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings. In other words, evidence acquired from correlation and regression analyses is sufficient to accept Hypothesis 2.
Pearson’s r demonstrated that there medium positive correlation between the perceived discipline of a higher education institution and the academic performance of students. These results are confirmed by the regression analysis presented in Figure 4‑2 below. According to test results, 21.7% of changes in GPA can be explained by perceived discipline, which is statistically significant (p<0.001). The results of correlation and regression analysis provide enough evidence to accept Hypothesis 3 and state that strict discipline on campus positively affects the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions.
The correlation analysis identified a rather small Pearson’s r value (0.22), which implies that test results are indecisive. Regression analysis aimed at providing further insights on the matter to accept or reject Hypothesis 4. The results of the test presented in Figure 4‑3 below demonstrate that even though communicativeness has an effect on GPA, it is somewhat limited. Only 3.8% of changes in GPA can be explained by communicativeness. In other words, while statistically speaking Hypothesis 4 should be accepted, the applicability of findings is questionable due to low predictive capabilities of communicativeness in students from minority groups studying in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions.
Regression analysis of GPA versus PTSR provided statistically significant support for findings acquired from the correlation analysis. The results of the test are demonstrated in Figure 4‑4 below. According to the results, 9.5% of changes in GPA can be explained by the punctuation of PTSR. While the results are statistically significant (p=0.001), their applicability is questionable. In other words, positive relationships between tutors and students seem to have a minor effect on students’ academic performance. However, formally, there is enough evidence received from correlation and regression analyses to accept Hypothesis 5 and state that PTSR positively affects the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions.
Acceptance Hypothesis 1 is vital to understand that gender discrimination is unacceptable when speaking about the performance of university students in cross-cultural settings. Even though one may argue that males are more successful in their studying since the highest GPA belongs to a male student, the lowest GPA belongs to a female student, on the mean GPA of male students is higher, these arguments are not viable. The situation is that the standard deviation of females’ performance is lower than males’, which may imply that female students are more consistent in their studies.
Figure 4‑5 demonstrated below provides visual support for the discussed matter. It was initially supposed that the gap in the literature concerning the differences in academic performance between males and females was explained by ethical considerations. However, the findings of the present paper propose that the literature review may have revealed no studies discussing the matter because it had been extensively discussed in earlier research. Therefore, the results of the testing for Hypothesis 1 hint at a significant flaw in the design of the project. In particular, the literature review touched upon only recent publications, which does not provide a holistic picture of historical tendencies in the research of the subject.
The acceptance of Hypothesis 2 is consistent with the current research. The fact that relationships with the family positively affect academic performance is predictable. Parent-child relationships are a source of self-efficacy and emotion sharing. Moreover, PRF is associated with decreased stress and anxiety, which is vital for focusing on studies. However, the effect of PRF on GPA cannot be high since the literature review revealed that there are cultural differences in parent-child relationships. In particular, lack of parent-child conflict does not have a statistically significant effect on Hispanic students, while it has a considerable effect on Asian students .
Since the sample for the present project was culturally diverse, the relationships with family had a varying effect on students. However, the present research did use the control variable of cultural background, which may have contributed to a more in-depth understanding of the discussed issue. In summary, PRF has a significant effect on the academic performance of students from cultural minorities studying in universities on average, and the results may have been affected by the cultural differences among students in the sample.
At the same time, it is worth considering that PRF is an independent variable, while GPA is a dependent one. In other words, the relationships with parents are better when the students have higher academic achievements instead of the other way around, as claimed by Hypothesis 2. Indeed, it is intuitive that when parents are proud of their children, they tend to spend more time with them and praise their success. However, the present research design does not have the means to resolve the problem and support or decline this argument. Therefore, the matter is to be a point of discussion in future research.
The findings concerning Hypothesis 3 are also consistent with the literature even though the link is indirect. Various researchers mentioned the importance of attending lectures and turning in the assignments in due time. Strict discipline on campus gives students fewer chances to skip classes and postpone their assignments. However, the effect is lower in comparison with PFR, which is difficult to interpret using the instruments of the present research. The matter may be partially explained by the fact that strictness may lead to increased tension and stress in students, which may negatively affect the performance of students in the long run.
Moreover, the differences may be explained by cultural differences since some cultural groups may have high self-discipline, and the policies of their universities may have no influence on their performance. Therefore, the effects of strict discipline on the performance of students from cultural minorities in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings is a matter that should be a subject of further research.
It is also worth mentioning that strictness of discipline in universities is in positive correlation with relationships between students in parents. While at first glance these two matters have little in common, further analysis suggests some interconnections between the phenomena. On the one hand, discipline in higher education institutions makes students obey the rules. Students can transfer their behavior from university to homes, which can be highly appreciated by the parents. On the other hand, the fact that discipline is positively correlated with GPA may have a mediating effect on child-parent relationships.
In other words, the improved performance of students may give their parents additional reasons to be proud of their children. Even though these results were obtained unintentionally, and they are irrelevant for the present research, they are a valuable addition to the current body of knowledge.
While the performed analyses revealed enough evidence to support Hypothesis 4, the significance of findings is questionable. The fact that only 3.8% of changes in GPA can be explained by fluctuation in self-reported communicativeness hints at the fact that the effect is minor. The results are very close to being statistically insignificant, which means that results should be used with caution.
One may argue that communication with peers is a vital coping mechanism that reduces stress, which positively affects academic performance. However, communicativeness may also be associated with shifted priorities from studies to social. Such a shift can negatively affect the academic performance of students from minority groups, which is partially confirmed by the correlation analysis provided in the present paper.
The results for Hypothesis 5 are also coherent with the current body of knowledge. Sibanda, Iwu, and Benedict ranked the factor 34th out of 39 using qualitative methods . While the effect of PSTR on GPA is statistically significant, it is low. This implies that teachers working in cross-cultural settings in higher education institutions are mostly not biased when grading the work of students.
Even though the effect of positive relationships is evident, it is not enough to conclude that being friends with a tutor can guarantee a student an improved GPA. Keeping this factor low is vital for higher education institutions since a high rate of correlation between PTSR and GPA can be viewed as tutors being bias. At the same time, there may be a reverse logic behind the numbers received during the analyses. Students are more likely to report positive relationships with only those teachers who give them good marks. Therefore, GPA may be an independent variable in the relationship between PTSR and GPA.
Finally, there is an additional statistically significant result, which is not directly connected to the research questions of the present project. As mentioned in Section 4.1.2, there is a low to moderate correlation between communicativeness and PSTR. This implies that students are often initiators of positive relationships with tutors. Additional regression analysis revealed that 12.1% of changes in relationships with tutors could be explained by self-reported communicativeness. While the results are irrelevant to the research question, they may be useful for future research.
The methods utilized for the present paper can be characterized by high validity and reliability. The paper utilizes quantitative methods, including a two-sample t-test, regression, and correlation analysis. The fact that the results of the correlation analysis were supplemented by regression analysis positively affects the reliability of findings and significantly contributes to the understanding of interrelationships among variables. Moreover, the sample size is adequate, which is confirmed by Sibanda, Iwu, and Benedict, who had the same number of participants . At the same time, research methods can be improved in several aspects.
First, the data-collecting procedure is a liability since there is no instrument to control the fact that respondents represent the desired population. Second, the questionnaire does not include information about the cultural background of students, which would be helpful for interpreting results and providing recommendations for further research. Third, while the sample size is adequate, the number of participants may have been increased to improve the reliability of the results. However, in general, the methods are adequate for answering the research questions.
One of the major flaws of the present project is the literature review since it provided limited insights into the matter of interest. In particular, the literature review sections include eleven peer-reviewed scholarly articles, which were published recently. In fact, ten articles were published during the last five years, and one was published in 2010. While some may view the fact that only recent literature was reviewed as a benefit, it can also be viewed as a defect.
The problem is that the review of the literature does not provide enough information to understand the historical background of the issue and how the thought developed. At the same time, the number of sources reviewed for the present project may seem small. However, an overview of current knowledge was performed to identify variables and appropriate research methods, which was successfully achieved. Therefore, the fact that the literature review section can be improved, its flaws have an insignificant impact on the research results.
While the project has successfully tested the five hypotheses, it did not explicitly answered both of the research questions. On the one hand, the project identified factors that positively affect the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings. These factors include PRF, strict discipline on campus and PSTR. The project also identified a weak correlation between communicativeness and GPA.
On the other hand, the project did not identify factors that negatively affect the academic performance of students from cultural minority groups in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings. However, it may be concluded from the discussion that negative relationships with the family, loose discipline, and negative relationships with tutors are associated with decreased academic performance of students. In other words, the hypotheses tests answered both research questions even though it is not stated explicitly. Therefore, the project can be called successful since it achieved its aim.
The project adheres to all international ethical standards since the research was anonymous, harmless, voluntary, confidential, and asked only for relevant information. All the applicants chose to participate in the research voluntarily, and 406 students, who received a message through Facebook, chose not to participate in the study. The message that was sent with the link to Google Forms explained the purpose of the survey.
Therefore, it may be concluded that participants confirmed their informed consent by answering the questions in the questionnaire. The research design was not associated with any risks to physical or mental health; therefore, the project does not do any intended or unintended harm. The results of the survey did not include any personal information, which was done to ensure anonymity.
Even though the names of students who received the initial invitations to participate in the study are known, there is no way of telling who replied to the survey. All the data was stored in Google Drive protected with a password and two-step authentication. The laptop that was used to access and analyze the data was also protected by a password. As demonstrated in Section 3.1, the questionnaire included only relevant inquiries, which assured that only relevant components were assessed. In short, the evaluation reveals no flaws in the project in terms of ethical considerations.
Cost Evaluation and Sustainability
The project was associated with a minor financial burden, which implies that the study design can be replicated to improve the generalizability of findings. In order to perform the study, a team of researchers needs to have a computer or a laptop with internet access and needed software, including a browser, Microsoft Office, and statistical software.
If a researcher has a computer with internet access, then the cost of the research can be reduced to null since Microsoft Office can be replaced with OpenOffice, and a 30-day free trial of Minitab can be used to analyze the received data. All the other software, including browser, Google Docs, and Facebook account, are free. The cost of the present project consisted only of the cost of Minitab 19, which is $2,154. However, the software could have been replaced with Microsoft Excel or other statistical software at a smaller price. The research can be sustained without considerable
The project has no significant environmental, social, or political impact. Since the project did not manipulate physical bodies or produced any products, the ecological impact is absent. Even though the findings of the research contribute to the current body of knowledge, the results do not have any considerable social or political significance. The project was also not associated with any health and safety risks, which is also a considerable advantage of the research.
The factors that affect the academic performance of students from minority groups in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings are widely discussed in scholarly literature. However, there are considerable gaps in the literature that the project aimed to address. In particular, the review of current scholarly articles revealed that the effects of gender, PRF, strict discipline on the campus of higher education institutions, communicativeness, and PTSR are unclear. Moreover, the research in the field is mainly conducted using qualitative methods, which is associated with the low reliability of results and the presence of bias. Therefore, research was needed to address the identified gap in the literature using rigorous quantitative research methods. The present study was designed to adhere to these standards.
The present paper identified two research questions, which asked what factors affect the academic performance of the population under study positively and negatively. Five hypotheses were stated to answer the research questions, and quantitative data were gathered and analyzed to accept or reject them.
First, the study concluded that the gender of a student does not have any effect on his or her academic performance. Second, PRF and strict discipline on campus have a medium impact on the academic performance of students from minority groups in higher education institutions in cross-cultural settings. Third, PTSR and communicativeness had a small effect on the GPA of the population. It should also be considered that the effect of communicativeness was less than 4%, and the p-value was very close to alpha (p=0.033), which means that the influence of communicativeness is questionable. However, there is a high degree of certainty that PRF, discipline on campus, and PTSR can be used as determinants of GPA.
The findings are consistent with the results of previous research and add to the current body of knowledge by closing the identified gap in the literature. While the results are significant, it is vital to acknowledge the limitations of the present study. First, it should be stated that the results are applicable only to the students from minority groups studying in higher education institutions. Second, the study does not regard the cultural differences of participants, which may be vital for acquiring a deeper understanding of the matter. Third, the sample characteristics do not contribute to the generalizability of results. Even though 94 participants are enough to draw statistically significant conclusions, more data is required to confirm the results.
Future research should be focused on addressing the limitations of the present project. First, future research should aim at considering the cultural differences of students since cultural background may have a significant impact on the factors that affect academic performance. Second, it would be beneficial to support the findings of the present project by creating replicas and improving the generalizability of findings. Third, future studies should aim at identifying other aspects that may contribute to the academic achievements of university students in cross-cultural settings. The results of the present project can be used as a basis for further elaboration on the problem.
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Appendix A. Questionnaire Form
Appendix B. Accumulated Data Set