Schools suspend 28.3% of African American males in traditional middle schools using a graded curriculum compared to 11% of all students (Krezmien, Leone, & Achilles, 2006; Losen & Skiba, 2010; Planty et al., 2009). African American males are more than two and half times more likely to receive a suspension than the average middle school student (Losen & Skiba, 2010). Researchers have consistently found that the disproportionate suspension statistics for African American males are not solely attributed to socioeconomic or other demographic factors (Skiba et al., 2002; Wallace et al., 2009; American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force, 2008). From 1973 to 2006, a timeframe marked by increased focus on zero tolerance and high-stakes testing, African American suspension rates almost tripled (Losen & Skiba, 2010). The perpetuation of the achievement gap, increased dropout rates, and higher prison rates are all distinct characteristics of the increased use of suspensions of African American males (Advancement Project, 2010; Finkel, 2010; Balfanz, Spirikakis, Neild, & Legters, 2003). There is a direct relationship between failing grades and suspensions (Safer, Heaton, & Parker, 1981). Traditional schools using graded curricula are not increasing achievement levels for African American males. Conversely, research suggests alternative grading practices, including non-graded curricula, can increase intrinsic motivation, student engagement, positive student attitudes, academic achievement, and positive behavior (Butler & Nisan, 1986; Kohn, 1994; Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2003; Cotton, 2000). The purpose of this quantitative, causal-comparative study is to investigate the extent of disproportionality and elevated rate of suspensions among African American males in middle schools with an alternative, non-graded curriculum. The study attempts to establish what, if any, statistically significant difference exists between the independent variable, type of school curriculum assessment, and the dependent variables, suspension proportion and suspension rate. The population of the study consists of middle school African American males in alternative schools using a non-graded curriculum from two different regions of America. The results are meaningful because the data suggests that there is no difference in the proportion of African American males suspended in the alternative setting versus the traditional setting. The results of the study are also encouraging because the data suggests there is a difference in the percentage of African American males suspended in the alternative setting versus the traditional setting. It is the researcher’s belief that high-stakes testing and utilization of graded curricula attribute to the elevated rate of suspensions among African American males. However, there is a need of further research to clarify the contributing factors to the disproportionality of suspensions.
|School:||University of Phoenix|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational tests & measurements, African American Studies, Middle School education|
|Keywords:||Achievement gap, African American suspensions, American males, Non-graded curriculum, School discipline, School suspensions|
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