Academic achievement gap between African American males

Abstract
The purpose of this research brief is to offer a brief review of those factors that contribute to the academic achievement gap between African American males. A sample of 25 8th grade, African American, male students from Dent Middle School will be identifyied as participates for the research. Although there has been research written about the achievement gap between African American and their counterparts, the literature is limited regarding strategies tailored specifically to address the achievement gap between African American males.
Participant’s data will be collected in relation to sex, race, age group, and attending school. Subjects will responded to an unobtrusive open-ended survey instrument. A survey consisting of 10 qualitative questions and will be used to developed for analysis. Introduction Studies have found that the level of the success of African American male students in advanced educational program is lower rates than nonblack peers (Few, 2004).

Success in early exposure to advance classes has shown that it ultimately impacts students’ pre college experiences, such as career choice, level of success, and the nature of participation extracurricular activities (Williams, 2011). Very few black males take advanced classes, which are more in line with college entrance requirements (Few, 2004). Instead, they stick to classes that meet basic high school graduation requirements (Few, 2004). Poverty is another barrier that blocks African American male from participation in the AP program.
Most schools require a fee for taking an exam in each subject area (Williams, 2011). AP courses are not as accessible for minorities as for White students because many low-income schools (often primarily populated by minority students) do not offer any AP classes (Watts Silvernail, 2010). With most African American families living well below the nation poverty rate paying addition school fees is unrealistic (Cross, 2006). Further, the lack of exposure to participating in advance placement class is also an issue that arises with African American males (Watts Silvernail, 2010).
Influenced for many years by widespread opinion that they have substandard academic abilities, African American male students in many instances do not consider enrolling in the AP program (Williams, 2011). Consequently, when African American males are not being identified as being academically high achieving and they receive tremendous peer pressure not to achieve, it is no surprise that few African American young males are in honors or advanced placement courses (Cross, 2006).
Despite these data, research is still necessary to understand why African American male student demonstrate lack of success and participation in advance courses. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to examine the possible factors that contribute to the lack success and participation of African American males in advance placement classes by asking the following questions: 1. Are African American males encouraged to participate in advance placement classes? . What types of support in being offered to enhance participation for African American Males? 3. What influences are hindering participation in advance placement for African American males? Researchers have attempted to clarify the factors the contribute to the lack of success and participation of African American in males in advance placement classes, most of the discussion focuses on fundamentals such as poverty, discrimination, and availability.
While there has been much written on the African American in males in advance placement classes, there are questions and problems that are fully or partially disclosed in the works of known scholars. Although there have been significant gains in the educational endeavors of African American students, the 1990s saw a reduction in the progress made with a significant widening of the achievement gap between African American and Caucasian students(Few, 2004). According to the Education Trust, (2003), the black-white gaps are about 10 points wider than they were more than a decade ago .
In addition to gaps in performance on achievement tests, gaps are found in grades, course selection, advanced placement (AP) course participation and test taking, high school graduation, and dropout rates (Legler, 2004). Theodore Cross was dedicated to the conscientious investigation of the status and prospects for African American males in higher education. In the journal article published in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education Cross addresses educational limitation for African American males in regards to advance placement.
While his research did reveal and address the fundamentals of the lack of participation in advance classes for African American males the article lacked objectivity. The focus of the article was centered on the racial scoring gap of advance placement and examined the significance of the interracial disparities between African American male. While is this a key component Jenel Few author of “The Odds are Against them: The Black Male Education Debacle” takes a stand on the lack of preparation is the leading factor that hinders African American males from partaking in advance classes.
She discusses the teacher’s lack of preparation to education children from different social standing and educational standing as well. African American males tend to be underrepresented in advanced and honors courses and more likely to be placed in special education programs and suspended or expelled from school (Few, 2004). The article describes a singularity known as the stereotype threat, which impacts the way teachers view students and the way students view themselves.
Stereotype threat influenced teachers’ low-achievement expectations for poor and minority students (Few, 2004). Watts Silvernail, (2010) An Examination of the Barriers and Supports to African-American Enrollment in Honors and Advanced Placement Courses doctoral dissertation examined the impact of teacher effectiveness on the learning of different types of students, from low to high achievers, illustrated the importance of quality teachers. In her studies she found that teacher’s quality has a “huge effect on how well students fare in school” (abstract).
Silvernail discusses that there are many externally and internally generated factors that can influence African American male students’ academic decisions to participate in AP classes. External factors include inaccessibility, socioeconomic status, and systemic barriers. Internal factors include cultural identity conflicts, learning style differences, and social isolation (abstract). Silvernail research determined that educational programs that promote equal access to higher education for traditionally underserved populations do exist among African American male.
Her qualitative approach was used with the intention of using authentic voices African American student voices to look for commonalities and differences between those students who choose the rigorous advanced track and those who do not (Silvernail, 2010). Method In this research study, The Factors Contributing to the Lack of Success and Participation of African American in Males in Advance Placement Classes will be examined. A qualitative method was chosen because it will offer a more purposeful sampling.
The strength of qualitative research is its ability to provide complex textual descriptions of how people experience a given research issue (Robert, 1999). The main purpose of choosing qualitative method is the advantage of qualitative research is to provide a richer deeper understanding of a problem or question being observed. Qualitative methods are also effective in identifying intangible factors, such as social norms, socioeconomic status, gender roles, ethnicity (Robert, 1999). Each participant personified three characteristics: Black male, a student, and a volunteer.
Participants
The participants of this study will include 40 African American male students in the grade to 8th grade at Dent Middle School in Columbia South Carolina who have reported not being successful or participating in advance placement classes. I chose Dent Middle School because of it diversity with students and teachers. In order to conduct a survey with students a paternal consent form was required do to the participants being under the age of 18 years of age. Survey Instrument Participants in this study will complete an survey that consists of 25 questions. see Appendix A) The survey was developed to collect data that will be used to analyze the reasoning behind the lack of success of African American males in advance placement classes.
References

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Cross, T. (2006). There is both good news and bad news in Black participation in advanced placement programs. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 50, 97-101. Retrieved from http://www. jbhe. com/features/59_apscoringgap. html Education Trust. (2003).
African American achievement in America. Retrieved April 5, 2012 from http://www2. edtrust. org/NR/rdonlyres/ 9AB4AC88-7301-43FF-81A3 EB94807B917F/0/AfAmer_Achivement. df Few, J. (2004).
The odds are against them: The black male education debacle. The Black Commentator, 89, Retrieved from http://www. blackcommentator. com/89/89_reprint_education. html Legler, R. (2004).
Perspectives on the gaps: Fostering the academic success of minority and low-income students. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates. http://books. google. com/books/about/Perspectives_on_the_gaps. html? id=lM_zGwAACAAJ Robert , P. (1999).
Qualitative methods: what are they and why use them?. Health Services Research, 34, 1101–1118. Retrieved from http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. ov/pmc/articles/PMC1089055/ Watts Silvernail, L. (2010).
An examination of the barriers and supports to african-american enrollment in honors and advanced placement courses. (Doctoral dissertation, University of South Carolina) Retrieved from http://www. grin. com/en/doc/237000/an-examination-of-the-barriers-and-supports-to-african-american-enrollment Williams, R. (2011).
More blacks are competing in advanced placement programs, but the racial scoring gap is widening. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 13, 23-36. Retrieved from http://www. jbhe. com/features/59_apscoringgap. html

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