Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Racial perceptions and its relationship with perceptions of school success
by McKeithan, Tashon, Ed.D., California State University, Fullerton, 2015, 86; 3662626
Abstract (Summary)

The White-Black achievement gap still persists, leaving Black children far behind their White peers. Research shows that children who struggle during their early childhood years are more likely to be at risk for academic failure in their elementary and high school years. Educators and social scientists continue to grapple with creating schools that improve Black educational achievement.

This study is grounded in the premise that racial perception is intrinsically linked to school success. Racial preferences are explored through participant selection in the forced choice questionnaire. Racial perceptions are examined in this study by how children take in racial stimuli and their reactions in response to these stimuli.

Two themes emerged from the participant responses: physical attributes (or visual cues) and behavioral attributes. Generally, participants perceived the physical traits of the Black doll positively. In the past, the studies of racial perception indicated that Black children were rejecting the visual images (dolls, pictures, etc.) that indicated internalization of negative physical (visual) perceptions of Black images. Unlike these former studies, the participants in this study show positive perceptions of physical characteristics of Black images. The participants ascribed negative behavioral characteristics to the Black doll, especially those related to school. The fact that Black children are ascribing negative behavioral traits to the doll they most identify with should not be overlooked. The consistent assignment of negative behaviors to the Black doll by Black children is problematic because the children identify with the group which they believes regularly behaves undesirably. This presents a conflict in how Black children are developing their racial perceptions and the perceptions of school success that may incorporate into their developing racial identity structures.

This study has raised several issues for further research and also suggests a need for intervention during the early childhood years. The disconnect between the students identifying positively with physical characteristics of Blacks but assigning negative behavioral traits to Blacks is too great to ignore. Given that racial perceptions are tied to school success, interventions that develop positive racial identity outcomes are necessary in schools.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zarate, Estella
School: California State University, Fullerton
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Multicultural Education, Early childhood education
Keywords: Black Education, Early Childhood, Educational Leadership, Multicultural, Race, Racial Perceptions
Publication Number: 3662626
ISBN: 9781321681314
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