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Abstract

This qualitative inquiry examined the lived experiences of 14 high-achieving, eighth-grade, Black males in three inner city middle schools. Anchored in a social constructivist paradigm, this study focused on factors that influence the educational experiences of early adolescent Black males. Participant selection was based on state test scores, GPA, and SES; data were collected by classroom observation and semi-structured interviews. Six themes and twenty-two subthemes related to factors which promote achievement and the meaning of achievement were found. Results show that high achieving students were motivated to excel, in part, by striving to counter negative assumptions about Black males. Participants faced many personal and contextual challenges, but they were able to identify individual and environmental resources that they used to fuel their drive for academic success.

Keywords

Achievement Gap, Adolescent, Black Males, Academic Achievement, Phenomenology

Author Bio(s)

Eartha Hackett, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Associate Professor, in the Division of Educational and Community Programs at Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY). Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: dr.eartha.hackett@gmail.com.

Joseph G. Ponterotto, Ph.D. is Professor of Counseling Psychology in the Division of Psychological and Educational Services at Fordham University, New York City. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: ponterotto@fordham.edu.

Akane Zusho, Ph.D. is Professor of School Psychology in the Division of Psychological and Educational Services at Fordham University, New York City. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Zusho@fordham.edu.

Margo A. Jackson, Ph.D. is a Professor of Counseling Psychology in the Division of Psychological and Educational Services at Fordham University, New York City. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: mjackson@fordham.edu.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all the young men who participated in the study as well as their parents, principals, and assistant principals who made this research possible.

Publication Date

10-28-2018

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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