A Qualitative Analysis of High Achieving African-American Females' Perceptions on Factors That Impact on Time High School Graduation in Southeastern Virginia
Patterson, Melanie Marshee
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The purpose of this study was to identify the experiences, attitudes, and successes of a group of high achieving African American female students that impact their on-time high school graduation. On-time graduates are described as students who complete high school in four years. High achieving African-American female students completing high school on time identified factors related to family, school, and community as essential in their success. Several underlying factors are within the three themes that studies show can be used as a way to pilot programs, deter drop-outs from leaving school early, and cohesively work in communities across the United States. A qualitative approach was used to analyze a selected group of high achieving African American females' perceptions to their success in high school. The research questions were: 1. What school factors do a group of high achieving African-American female students perceive as attributing to their on-time graduation from high school with honors and advanced diplomas? 2. What family influences do these high achieving females perceive as attributes to graduating on-time with honors and advanced diplomas? 3. What community influences do these high achieving African American females' perceive as contributors to on-time graduation with honors and advanced diplomas? Twenty-four high achieving African American females' from one high school were eligible to participate in the study. Eight students participated in the study, which included open-ended interview questions and a sentence completion questionnaire. All interview questions were centered on the support provided by the school, community, or family. The results of the study showed parents; specifically the mothers of the participants had the greatest impact on the high achieving African American females' performance in high school. The teachers of the high achieving African American female students were supportive and caring. The community recognition that the high achieving African American females received was a motivating factor to varying degrees. The high achieving African American female participants, in the study, all possessed intrinsic motivation and work ethic to be academically successful.
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