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ERIC Number: ED546966
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 135
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-0874-4
The Will to Achieve: A Phenomenological Study of the Experiences of African American High Achieving Students and Their Parents
Spencer, Natalie Faye
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, North Carolina State University
The purpose of this research study was to understand the experiences of high achieving African American students and their parents. The experiences of high achieving African American students and their parents have been missing from literature on the academic achievement of African American students. Much of the literature that has been published focuses on the achievement gap, underperformance of African American students and the absence of African American parents in their child's education (Ford, et al., 2008). The studies that have been published that investigate parental involvement primary feature samplings of white students (Yan, 1999). The continued conversation about the academic disparities between many black and white youth only serve to perpetuate the societal narrative that African American students are somewhat intellectually inferior to white students (Carter-Andrews, 2009). Six high achieving African American students and their parents participated in this study. Data were collected utilizing a demographic survey, semi-structured interviews, and a narrative student visual representation activity (i.e., student self-portrait). Two coders and one auditor analyzed the demographic surveys from both parent and student research participants, semi-structured interviews, and student self-portraits. Codes were determined using a thematic coding process to find recurring themes. After each coder individually coded the data, the coding team met and created a master code list that consisted of individual codes and subsequent themes. The findings of this research study suggest that high achieving African American students want to achieve and do well. They do not feel the need to hide their achievement identities. The student research participants were motivated and excited about learning. Parents of students participating supported their children and wanted the best for them. Student participants also had a strong desire and will to achieve and to serve as leaders and role models to their peers. School counselors can encourage positive identity development by taking an interest in high achieving students and their development. A school wide initiative school counselors can employ to help this identity development is to create a high achievers club where students with a GPA of 3.5 or above come together to not only socialize, but to help each other. Also, counselors that promote high achievement and academic success can help match high achieving students with students in need of academic support. Creating a tutoring program enables high achieving students to take on leadership roles within their school, as well as to help others and promote achievement and success. Many of the students participating in this research study discussed the importance of support systems. Future research should focus more on the interaction of school personnel. Parent and student research participants both mentioned involvement with school counselors, teachers, and coaches. It would be worthwhile to gather the thoughts of attitudes of school personnel in positions where they counsel and advise students. The participants in this current study expressed some interaction with school personnel but it was limited. Future studies can focus primarily on communication with school counselors. [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:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A