Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

No container: Teacher perceptions of the influence of self, context, and school on the success of African American students in three highly selective independent schools
by Lopez, Noni Shamim, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2016, 224; 10196399
Abstract (Summary)

In my study, I examined teacher perceptions of the factors that contribute to or work against the success of African American (Black) students in predominately White independent schools. I asked three questions and two subquestions:

1. What do teachers observe across elementary, middle, and high school age groups that they perceive contributes to or works against the success of Black students?

1a. How do teachers in a predominately White, independent school define success for their Black students?

1b. Do teachers at different grade levels have different perceptions of Black student success?

2. Is it possible to develop valid, reliable measure of teacher perceptions of independent school racial climate and Black student coping?

3. Does a relationship exist between individual demographic factors of teachers and their perceptions of the success of Black students?

My study was conducted at three independent schools in New York City. Focus group interviews were conducted at each school with teachers and administrators who had 10 or more years of experience at their schools. Surveys with direct and open-ended questions were distributed to faculty, administrators, and staff of the three schools to explore perceptions of Black student success, racial climate, and Black student coping, and to determine whether a relationship existed among individual demographic factors and teacher perceptions of Black student success. I found four relationships:

1. Participants perceived that, regardless of their grade level, Black students in their schools experienced similar forms of implicit and explicit racial bias that negatively affected their success; however, patterns emerged in the participants’ responses that demonstrated a higher level of concern for their elementary-age Black students compared to the students who entered in middle or high school.

2. Participants identified strong sense of self and sense of connection as two core dimensions of success for all of their students, but identified knowing the “rules of the private school game” and having a strong support network early on as important success factors for Black students.

3. It is possible to develop valid and reliable measures of teacher perceptions of racial climate and Black student coping.

4. A significant relationship existed among teacher perceptions of Black student success and teachers’ race, years in current school, years in position, and school level taught.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stevenson, Howard C.
Commitee: Kuriloff, Peter J., Riley, Kathleen
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Educational evaluation, Educational leadership
Keywords: African American students, Black student success, Independent schools, Racial bias, Racial climate, Sense of self, Student success, Support network, Teacher perceptions
Publication Number: 10196399
ISBN: 978-1-369-46878-6
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