A Case Study of Middle Class African American Males Taking Advanced Mathematics Classes in High School
Jones, Zella Higginbotham
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African American males in all socioeconomic levels are underperforming in school. Many researchers have conducted studies hoping to find reasons for the underperformance. This study focused on three middle class African American males in a suburban school district. These African American male students took upper level math courses that included Algebra III, Math Analysis, AP Calculus, and AP Statistics. This study modeled the study by E. Wayne Harris. He believed students were influenced by eight factors to include parents, past and present achievement, teachers, love of math, counselors, high school graduation/college admissions requirements, peers, and future plans. I conducted a qualitative case study in which students, parents, teachers, counselors, and the math department supervisor were interviewed. The interview questions provided data that were analyzed to determine the influences of the factors listed above. The data gathered during the interviews was used to assess the influence of the factors in the decision making process of the middle class African American males in the study to take upper level math classes. This researcher concluded 1) The parents expected their children to attend college, but the school staff did not have goals that directed the students to take courses that would prepare them for college, 2) Students had post secondary plans. 3) Two of the three parents advised their sons on what math classes to take, 4) There were no policies or practices in place to influence African American males to take more than the required three years of math or upper level math classes, 5) The school culture did not encourage student to take more academic classes, 6) There was no negative peer pressure for taking upper level math classes, and 7) Parents, teachers, counselors and the math department supervisor need to provide more input to African American male students to increase their participation in upper level math classes. In addition, factors such as love of math, high school graduation/college admissions requirements, peers, and future plans must also be addressed if schools hope to increase the number of African American males taking upper level math classes.
- Doctoral Dissertations