Term of Award

Summer 2003

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Deborah Thomas

Committee Member 1

Natalie Adams

Committee Member 2

Michael Allen

Committee Member 3

William Reynolds


The purpose of this study was to generate grounded theory that identifies and explains the multivalent discourses of success for identified successful girls in middle school What do educators and girls themselves mean when they use the term "successful" to describe a middle school girl? What are the different, competing discourses of success? What characteristics, traits, beliefs, values, etc do identified successful girls have in common? Teachers and administrators were asked to identify successful girls at one middle school in central Colorado Data collection included the transcripts of two focus group's in-depth interviews with 14 girls in grades six through eight who attended the same inner city middle school over a period of seven months. Analysis of the data using the grounded theory method revealed that these girls defined success in different, sometimes competing discourses: academic, sociability, adolescence, and feminist. The characteristics these successful girls had in common were: a strong adult in each of their lives, self-direction, independence at school, and high academic achievement.


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