Examining Organizational Practices That Predict Persistence Among High-Achieving Black Males in High School
by Kenneth Alonzo Anderson — 2016
Background/Context: This article summarizes an increasing trend of antideficit Black male research in mathematics and highlights opportunities to add to the research. A review of the literature shows that antideficit researchers often examine relationships between individual traits and persistence of high-achieving Black males in mathematics. However, opportunities for additional antideficit research include examining relationships between organizational decisions and persistence of high-achieving Black males.
Research Question: Which organizational practices predict persistence among Black males in 11th grade who have demonstrated high mathematics potential in ninth grade?
Population: Data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) were used in this study to identify a national sample of high-achieving Black males. Publicly-available data from the base year (2009–2010) and the first follow-up year (2011–2012) were used in this study to examine Black male persistence in high achievement categories from ninth to 11th grades. The sample was limited to public school Black males with mathematics achievement scores in the top two national quintiles. More than 31,000 students (weighted estimates) met the study’s requirements and were included in this study.
Research Design: Using optimal resource theory, logistic and multiple regression was used to examine the relationships between school-based practices in ninth grade and student outcomes in 11th grade.
Findings/Results: Of the Black males who demonstrated high potential in ninth grade and matriculated to pre-calculus in 11th grade, 61% earned mathematics scores in the top 20%, nationally. Contrarily, only 18% of the Black males who demonstrated high potential in ninth grade, but did not matriculate to pre-calculus in 11th grade earned mathematics scores in the top 20%, nationally. Additionally, of the extracurricular activities that were examined, findings show that partnerships with community colleges and universities, science and mathematics guest speakers, and science/math-related field trips were related to increased mathematics efficacy after two years. Teacher sorting practices and professional development activities were not reliably predictive of the student outcomes that were examined in this study.
Conclusions/Recommendations: This study uses national data to demonstrate that some common organizational practices are more beneficial to high-achieving Black males than others. In particular, this study highlights the importance of developing course progress monitoring and support plans to increase the likelihood of persistence—future high achievement and beliefs about ability—for Black males who have demonstrated high potential in ninth grade. Opportunities for future research are also discussed.
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