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ERIC Number: ED550502
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 166
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-4539-9
High-Achieving, Low Socioeconomic Status African-American Males: A Comparative Perspective of Students at Three Urban High Schools
Randle, James P.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
A recent study by the Council of the Great City Schools reports that "the nation's young African-American males are in a state of crisis" and describes the situation as "a national catastrophe" (Lewis, Simon, Uzzell, Horwitz, & Casserly, 2010; Herbert, 2010). The report indicates that African-American males still lag far behind their schoolmates in academic achievement and that they drop out of school at nearly twice the rate of their White counterparts (Lewis, 2010; Herbert, 2010). According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 8.4 percent of young, gifted, economically disadvantaged African-American males drop out due to events such as disengagement or difficult life circumstances (Cataldi, Laird, J., & Kewal-Ramani, 2009). Conversely, others successfully negotiate the worlds of school and home and manage to succeed at high levels even when one or both environments present challenges in their lives (Borman & Rachuba, 2001). Research shows that school environments that support high academic performance are those where teacher attitudes, student attitudes, and student achievement-related behaviors positively impact student outcomes, (Borman & Overman, 2004; Martin, 2000; WilliWhite Students ams, 2008). At the same time, we know that some African-American male high school students can achieve success in widely varying contexts such as predominately White urban-suburban schools, racially mixed schools, largely minority inner-city schools and magnet schools which were choice schools established to promote racial diversity and to improve scholastic standards (, 2001). What we do not know is how these young men negotiate these greatly varying environments and extract what they need to be successful. To better meet the needs of college-bound, high-achieving, low income African-American males, it is critical for schools and districts to know how these students make meaning of factors contributing to and impeding their success. Factors that lie within schools' and districts' control, particularly those that support student success, should be taken to scale and those that hinder success should be eliminated. This dissertation study expands on the literature review and on the pilot study I conducted and addresses the following guiding research questions: RQ 1: How do high-achieving, African-American males describe the explicit and tacit codes, norms and operating systems that exist in three economically and ethnically distinct high schools relative to college expectations and preparedness? RQ 2: How do these males articulate the impact of academic programs, networks, and relationships that foster their individual success? RQ 3: What role does each distinct school environment play in the students' academic experiences and college preparedness? This study moves forward the conceptualization of factors that impact the success of and experiences for African-American males whether attending predominately African-American, racially diverse or predominately White schools. This work is significant because it is critical that every high-achieving African-American male is supported to reach his full potential. Additionally, though it may be difficult for schools and districts to affect change in factors such as family context, it is highly plausible for them to adjust school policies and practices to increase opportunities for students' success. In order to make these improvements, it is essential to better understand the influences of the school environment, the importance of networks and relationships and the existence of various forms of social and academic capital in the distinct school contexts (Bourdieu, 1986; Putnam, 1995). [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: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A