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ERIC Number: ED529302
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 211
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1246-3175-2
Moving beyond the Margins: An Exploration of Low Performing African American Male College Students
Jackson, Ronald C.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
Data have shown that African American male college students are being outperformed. Compared to all other populations by ethnicity and gender, African American males most often fare the worst in terms of persistence, performance, and completion. The impetus of this study was to explore the motivation of those that have low academic performance and engagement, but have managed to persist in higher education. Through qualitative research methods the shared experiences of eight African American male college students at three four-year large public research institutions were explored. One-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with students in addition to twelve individuals who were identified as being significant supporters in their decision to pursue and/or persist in higher education. Data were also obtained through responses to a pre-interview questionnaire, academic transcripts, and degree audit reports. A collective case study approach provided the framework for the study design. An analysis of the data yielded five main themes: motivation to pursue higher education; personal and academic support; student engagement; academic performance; and student growth and development. These themes provided an explanation of students' motivation to persist as well as offered insight into the rationale for their low performance and engagement. Personal aspirations and support provided by family members served as the primary reason for persisting in higher education. Also, each student had to endure a personal crisis within the first few years of college, which led to low performance. Low performance was exacerbated by the lack of structure needed to balance personal and academic responsibilities coupled with a strong sense of self-reliance, which limited the desire to ask for assistance when needed. The findings of this study offers insight to improve the academic outcomes for African American male students. While this study focused on college students, the findings also suggest some considerations for students in the secondary education system. Recommendations are provided for parents, K-12 educators, and postsecondary administrators and faculty. Implications for future research on the persistence of African American males are also offered. [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: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A