Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Algebra matters: An ethnographic study of successful African American male Algebra 1 students in a suburban middle school
by Kirkwood, Kirk, Ed.D., California State University, Fullerton, 2012, 198; 3515660
Abstract (Summary)

Alarming statistics reveal that African American male students are encountering long-standing challenges in K-12 mathematics. However, few studies have explored the phenomena associated with African American males and K-12 mathematics education, particularly at the middle school level in the context of an Algebra 1 course of study. The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of six eighth-grade African American males enrolled in Algebra 1 within the context of a suburban middle school. Using an ethnographic design, the research addressed two questions: 1. What are the experiences of middle school African American male Algebra 1 students attending suburban schools with relatively low representation of African American students enrolled in the class? 2. What are the implications of these experiences?

Semi-structured interviews, observations, data collection, and analysis yielded the following three themes: (a) a supportive learning environment and school context provide space and opportunity for positive interactions and overall academic success, (b) collaborative models present opportunities for support and learning in an Algebra 1 class, and (c) Algebra 1 serves as a gateway course to advanced educational and career opportunities. The implications of these findings provided the impetus for African American male student persistence within the context of a rigorous and high-stakes course, Algebra 1.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kimani, Patrick M.
School: California State University, Fullerton
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, African American Studies, Black studies, Middle School education, Education Policy
Keywords: African-American, Algebra 1, Boys, Mathematics, Middle school, Suburban
Publication Number: 3515660
ISBN: 978-1-267-43360-2
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