Term of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Cordelia Zinskie

Committee Member 1

Dorothy Battle

Committee Member 2

Russell Mays

Abstract

This study sought to understand African American high school males' perceptions of factors contributing to academic success. The researcher gathered information by interviewing students and collecting their demographic profile data. This qualitative research method enabled the researcher to learn directly from students what factors African American male students associated with academic success as well as challenges to academic success and solutions for achieving academic success. Participants were three junior and three senior African American high school male students attending a rural high school in Georgia. Data collection occurred during the spring semester of 2011. Each participant was asked 16 questions to determine his perspectives on factors contributing to academic success and what solutions and challenges he perceived necessary for African American males to achieve academic success. Among factors influencing student success were: (a) supportive parents, (b) caring teachers, (c) positive school environment, (d) peer support, and (e) community initiatives. Data suggested that to support the academic success of African American male students more African American male teachers and mentors are needed in schools. In addition, African American males desired for educators to understand their cultural background and avoid labeling them. Some challenges perceived by participants included: (a) lack of after school community activities, (b) negative stereotypes, (c) lack of self-initiative, (d) negative images, and (e) lack of belief in self. Among solutions cited were: (a) self-motivation, (b) role-models, and (c) mentors. Overall, participants had a need to feel cared about, understood, and supported. Findings from this research study can assist in the development of teacher education programs, school-based interventions and community programs for African American male adolescents. This research study is an attempt to provide additive information within the educational literature.

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