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.
Achievement Gap, Adolescent, Black Males, Academic Achievement, Phenomenology
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.
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Recommended APA Citation
Hackett, E. M., Ponterotto, J. G., Zusho, A., & Jackson, M. A. (2018). Rising Out of the Gap: Early Adolescent Black Males and Academic Success. The Qualitative Report, 23(10), 2561-2585. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2018.3574