Date of Paper

4-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Colin Hollidge

Abstract

African American students disproportionately perform poorly compared to their peers academically. This research project reviews previous findings for causes of the achievement gap. Race, Socioeconomic Status, Family and High Quality Teaching/Schools were the recurrent themes in the existing research. A qualitative research method was used to discern the barriers to graduating high school on time from the student’s perspective. Semi structured qualitative interviews were used to conduct research about why students did not graduate high school. The sample for this study included seven adult male participants who did not graduate high school. Overall, the research showed that participants agreed with previous literature. Participants generally did not think that their parents or school supported their education. The majority of participants also thought that their family’s income impacted their learning negatively. The implications of this project invite continued research on why being mobile and poor impact education negatively. Further research also needs to be conducted to identify what students and families affected by the achievement gap identify as areas that need improvement and how it has affected them. Implications for education are to offer a culturally sensitive curriculum to students and provide individualized instruction to students identified as struggling.

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