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High School African American Males and Academic Success

Hill, Virginia (2015) High School African American Males and Academic Success. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The cry continues with A Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind, and now the Common Core State Standards. There are groups of students who are finding success within public education and groups who are not. The groups who are not finding this success continue to be minority students who continue to run into the public education system rather than running with it. African American males seem to experience running into the system at greater number than other racial and gender groups. However, there are African American males that are finding success in public education. This study looks at the schooling and educational perspectives of twenty-four African American male K-12 public education students. Using grades and standardized assessments as a criterion, fifteen of the students were considered academically successful and nine were not. Twenty-two of the males were 18 years of age and two were 12 years old. Nineteen participants were high school seniors, one was a sophomore, and two were in middle school. Looking through the lenses of Critical Race Theory and Resiliency Theory using qualitative inquiry and data derived from interviews, data was collected to determine what contributed to the success of some participants. First both successful and non-successful groups were able to speak about having goals for the future and the importance of working hard in school. Secondly, relationships were also seen as essential to academic success, whether these relationships were with parents, teachers, or mentors for academic success to occur. Racial stereotypes were seen as something to overcome by the academically success. Race was viewed as a road block difficult to overcome by less successful participants. Having a father and mother or frequent access to more than one caring adult increased an African American male’s ability to be academically successful. Even having two parents that may not have been supportive of the African American male appeared to be more beneficial than having supportive friends.
Recommendations to help African American males to be academically successful include starting early with relationship support and mentoring, life skills courses, and increased interaction with successful African American males.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMcClure, Maureen W.mmcclure@pitt.eduMMCCLURE
Committee MemberBickel, Williambickel@pitt.eduBICKEL
Committee MemberEnglert, Williamdr,
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.eduMGUNZEN
Committee MemberWhite-Taylor,
Date: 28 January 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 September 2014
Approval Date: 28 January 2015
Submission Date: 6 December 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 266
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: African American males; academic success, Critical Race Theory, Resiliency Theory, Social Capital, Focus
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2015 21:00
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:25


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