Envisioning college success: the role of student identity centrality
This paper examines the recently developed construct of student identity centrality, which describes the importance of being a student to a person’s sense of self. The present study uses multiple college student surveys and institutional data to expand upon initial work in several ways. First, it shows that this construct is measured reliably using a single three-item scale. Second, it employs measurement invariance analyses, which indicate that this scale is valid for examining and comparing different groups of students. Third, it provides evidence for convergent and divergent validity through exploring relationships between student identity centrality and relevant psychological and experiential constructs. Fourth, even when controlling for demographics, prior academic achievement, stereotype threat, and grit, it finds that student identity is positively and significantly associated with college credits earned; grades in science, technology, engineering and mathematics coursework; academic confidence; college sense of belonging; and subjective well-being. Implications for future research, assessment, and higher education practice are discussed.