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ERIC Number: ED522764
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 261
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-6102-4
Identification with Academics: The Early School Experiences of Six African American Boys
Vescio, Vicki A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida
As a group, African American males face some pervasive obstacles to school success. Collectively they are expelled, suspended, disciplined, retained, and referred to special education at disproportionately high percentages when compared to their peers. As a result of this persistent treatment, African American males have a tendency to disidentify from school and drop out at unacceptably high rates. Based in the idea that disidentification from school and academics begins at an early age, the purpose of this study was to examine the daily school experiences of elementary aged African American boys in order to analyze their emerging identification with academics. Using Finn's (1989) notion that identification with school is connected to patterns of participation, attitudes, and opportunities for success, this research addressed one main question and three sub-questions. The overarching question was: How did the boys' daily school experiences connect to their emerging identification with academics? The sub-questions included: 1) What experiences during the school day were important to the boys and why? 2) What were the attitudes toward academics that each of these African American boys was developing? 3) What patterns of participation did each boy exhibit during daily lessons and activities? Research methods included gathering observation and interview data on six, low socioeconomic status (SES) fourth-grade African American males during the final three months of the 2008-2009 school year. From the data sources, typological analysis was used to develop detailed case studies that focused on each boy's positive and negative attitudes toward school along with his patterns of engagement and disengagement. After this, a cross-case analysis was conducted to look for themes in attitudes and patterns of participation across all six boys. Results reflected themes in positive attitudes that included an affinity for reading and math. In addition, the boys spoke in a positive manner about instructional strategies that included partner work, question and answer discussion sessions, and choral response activities. The boys also specified the importance of opportunities to successfully demonstrate their knowledge, to receive rewards and praise, to have fun during lessons, and to be challenged and use their imaginations while learning. Patterns of participation indicated that the highest levels of engagement occurred during times of teacher-led instruction where active exchanges took place during ongoing lessons. Overall, the results suggested attitudes and patterns of participation that were motivated by the need for each boy to seek and receive affirmation for his efforts in the classroom. Additionally, this research supported tenets of culturally relevant pedagogy as a means for maintaining positive patterns of participation within daily lessons. The study concludes with a discussion of implications and areas for future research in an effort to support the educational needs of young African American males. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A