The performance of high -ability Black upper elementary grade students in an International Baccalaureate program

Sharon R Humphrey, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the common factors and experiences that contribute to the success of high ability Black students enrolled in Frank C. Martin Elementary School, the first school in Florida authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). The study further sought to determine ways in which educators and stakeholders assisted in maintaining and in increasing Black students' achievement that motivated and encouraged them to pursue similar programs at the middle and high school levels. Three sources of data were used: (a) individual interviews with fourth and fifth grade high ability Black students using a semi-structured format elicited discussion of their perceptions of the PYP and factors contributing to their success; (b) individual interviews with their fourth and fifth grade teachers elicited discussion of teacher expectations and effective instructional strategies; and (c) a questionnaire asked parents of the participating students their reasons for choosing the PYP, their perceptions of the program, and their own level of involvement in their child's learning. Three separate focus groups gathered further data. The results revealed that the factors contributing to the success of high ability Black elementary school students are consistent with those of students in other racial groups. These are a challenging program, high teacher and parental expectations, strong parental involvement and support, a celebration of culture and diversity in a caring and nurturing environment, and the development and internalization of positive attitudes. Implications for future studies might include a longitudinal study conducted over seven years to trace the achievements of Black students throughout the entire IB Program.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Humphrey, Sharon R, "The performance of high -ability Black upper elementary grade students in an International Baccalaureate program" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3130314.