A comparative study of high -achieving and low -achieving African -American students in an urban setting

Channey Johnson, Florida International University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to delineate which demographic and school variables were important for predicting the achievement of 10th grade African-American students. The sample population was divided into two groups: high-achievers, students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher, and low-achievers, students with GPAs of 1.5 or lower. Variables examined in the study included: gender; birth place; student's native language; exceptionality (ESE); history of English proficiency (LEP); SES (lunch status) in elementary and high school; the percentage of the Black student population in high school; and suspensions, absences, tardies, and the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) scores in reading comprehension, mathematics computation, and mathematics applications in elementary and middle school. Two separate logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine which variables were influential in predicting achievement.^ Analysis 1 (N = 366), which included all the variables, except the SAT percentile scores, correctly classified 87% of the students as high-achievers or low-achievers. The results from Analysis 1 revealed that students who--were female; spoke a language other than English as their first language; did not apply for free or reduced lunch in elementary school; were in the gifted program; had no absences or tardies in elementary school; had no suspensions or tardies in middle school; and attended a high school with a lower percentage of Black students--were more likely to be high-achieving than low-achieving.^ Analysis 2 (N = 274) included all the variables and resulted in 94% of the students being correctly classified. It was found that students who--were female; were currently or previously classified as Limited English Proficient (LEP); did not apply for free or reduced lunch in elementary school; had no suspensions or tardies in middle school; and had higher percentile scores in reading comprehension and mathematics computation on the SAT in middle school--were more likely to high-achieving than low-achieving.^ The quantitative analyses were coupled with interviews from a purposeful sample of the population (N = 12) to gain additional insight about why some African-American students are succeeding in our schools and others are not. This study provides a viable means for assessing African-American students' achievement patterns in our schools. ^

Subject Area

Black Studies|History, Black|Education, Administration|Education, Guidance and Counseling

Recommended Citation

Channey Johnson, "A comparative study of high -achieving and low -achieving African -American students in an urban setting" (January 1, 1998). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI9834962.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9834962

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