A Dissertation Summary
by
Julie Connor, Ed.D.
A growing number of minority students are experiencing
failure in U.S. schools.
(Bloom, 2003; Brown & Beckett, 2007; Thern...
Strong school-family relationships lead to improved attendance and
decreased incidences of bullying (Domina, 2005).
Teache...
Participants: 104 6th grade African-American
students eligible for free/reduced lunches at 5
elementary schools in Kansas ...
• Part I: Respondents provided
information about gender,
number of children and adults
in their homes, and education
of ad...
Research Questions & Hypothesis
Questions guiding the quantitative study:
1. How were student survey responses
similar to ...
• Historical context of educational opportunities
for minority students in America
• Minority families and school staff ra...
Inadequate academic preparation
Substandard educational resources
Mismatched social and academic expectations
Lack of enco...
Schools
Total
Number of
Students
Number of
Eligible 6th
Graders*
Number of
Participating
6th Graders
African-
American
Pop...
Student Survey Respondents
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
School A School B School C School D School E
NumberofStudents
Participating...
Schools
Total Number of
Students
Proficient in
Comm. Arts (%)
African-American
6th Graders
Proficient in
Comm. Arts (%)
To...
Lived with
Mother &
Father
18%
Lived with Mothers
52%
Lived with Fathers
3%
Lived with
Grandparents
21%
Other
6%
Less Than
9th Gr.
Ed
8%
Some
High School
24%
High School
Diploma or GED
31%
Some
College
17% College
Graduate
14% Don't
kn...
• Students’ reactions and corresponding
predictions of primary caregivers’ responses
aligned in table form
• Frequencies a...
• Inferential statistics used to develop conclusions and
make predictions about population based on
information from the s...
Students predicted how their primary caregivers
would respond to the following statements:
“My parent(s)/guardian(s) …”
1....
Students Parents t-Value DF p-Value
Inference
Correlation Sig.
Mean SD Mean SD
Q2 & Q15
Q3 & Q16
Q4 & Q17
Q5 & Q18
Q6 & Q1...
Survey Item
Strongly
Agreed Agreed Disagreed
Strongly
Disagreed
I want to get a
good education
64% 26% 7% 3%
My parents an...
Similarities in Students’Attitudes & Perceptions of Primary Caregivers
• Three-fourths of the students (76%) enjoyed going...
Similarities in Students’ Attitudes & Perceptions of Primary Caregivers
Though most students believed their parents expect...
Differences in Students’ Attitudes & Perceptions of Primary Caregivers
90% wanted a good education and 87% were happy when...
Positive Areas of Academic Support from Primary Caregivers
• 76% enjoyed going to school
• 75% wanted to become more succe...
Negative Areas of Academic Support from Primary Caregivers
• 90% wanted a good education, 87% were happy when successful a...
• Although most students reported that their caregivers disapproved if they did
not go to school, they believed primary ca...
Survey
Item
Strongly
Agreed Agreed Disagreed
Strongly
Disagreed
I get in
trouble if I
do not go
to school
66% 21% 8% 5%
My...
Survey
Item
Strongly
Agreed Agreed Disagreed
Strongly
Disagreed
I want to
graduate
from high
school
52% 27% 19% 2%
My
pare...
High School Graduation vs Full-time
Employment after Graduation
Survey
Item
Strongly
Agreed Agreed Disagreed
Strongly
Disa...
KCMSD vs Missouri Drop-Out & Graduation Rates
KCMSD HIGH SCHOOL
DROP-OUT RATE (%)
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
9.8
(-6.2)
17.4...
Note: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (2011)
Missouri 80.4%
Asian 86.1
Black 65.3
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 81.0
Hispanic 74.2
Indian 77.0
White 85.8
Multi-Race 91.8
F...
• 21% of the survey participants lived with grandparents
• In 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 1.3
million Afric...
* Maintain high expectations and standards for all students and clearly defined means for students
to achieve expectations...
• Prepare teachers with tools and resources needed to support parent and family involvement
through professional developme...
• “Thus far, school desegregation has failed because many educators
have not examined beliefs and assumptions about cultur...
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African-American Student Perceptions of Their Parents' and Guardians' Attitudes towards Education and Academic Achievement (Dissertation)

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The purpose of this study was to examine African-American student perceptions of
their parents’ and guardians’ attitudes towards education and academic achievement at five schools in the Kansas City, Missouri School District. Sixth grade African-American students responded to statements about their beliefs, attitudes, and their perceptions of their parents’ and guardians’ attitudes towards learning and education. Complete dissertation available at MOSpace, http://bit.ly/1exYR7d

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African-American Student Perceptions of Their Parents' and Guardians' Attitudes towards Education and Academic Achievement (Dissertation)

  1. 1. A Dissertation Summary by Julie Connor, Ed.D.
  2. 2. A growing number of minority students are experiencing failure in U.S. schools. (Bloom, 2003; Brown & Beckett, 2007; Thernstrom & Thernstrom, 2003) Many large urban schools reported that the drop-out rate among minority high school students was below 50%. (Chaddock, 2006; Steinberg & Almeida, 2004) The No Child Left Behind Act (2001) demanded stronger accountability from schools, more choices for parents, and required schools to develop firm ties with students and families. Minority youth who were supported through joint school- family relationships often experienced academic success. (Tableman, 2004)
  3. 3. Strong school-family relationships lead to improved attendance and decreased incidences of bullying (Domina, 2005). Teachers and parents were often frustrated by their inability to communicate across socioeconomic levels, cultural lines, and language barriers (Ramirez, 2003). Teachers frequently assumed that minority parents did not want to be involved in their children’s education (Diamond & Gomez, 2004). Many low-income minority primary caregivers believed educators did not want them involved in their children’s instruction (Pena, 2000; Thernstrom & Thernstrom, 2003) and education was a responsibility that belonged to teachers (Smrekar & Cohen-Vogel, 2001). Minority parents were often critical of school policies they believed prevented their children from receiving a quality education (Byndloss, 2001; Diamond & Gomez, 2004; Ramirez, 2003).
  4. 4. Participants: 104 6th grade African-American students eligible for free/reduced lunches at 5 elementary schools in Kansas City’s urban core Purpose: To examine relationships between students’ attitudes and their perceptions of their primary caregivers’ thoughts and feelings about education and academic achievement Students responded to 28 statements related to education on a survey: (a) their personal beliefs and attitudes (b) their parents’ and guardians’ attitudes
  5. 5. • Part I: Respondents provided information about gender, number of children and adults in their homes, and education of adults who were responsible for their care • Part II: 4-point Likert scale (a) 14 statements about students’ personal attitudes about education (b) 14 statements required students to predict their parents’ and guardians attitudes and feelings about education
  6. 6. Research Questions & Hypothesis Questions guiding the quantitative study: 1. How were student survey responses similar to their perceptions of parents’ and guardians’ attitudes towards learning and academic achievement? 2. How were student survey responses different from their perceptions of parents’ and guardians’ attitudes towards learning and academic achievement? 3. What did students identify as positive areas of support from parents and guardians in regard to academic achievement? 4. Were students who held more positive personal beliefs about education and academic achievement those who also perceived stronger support from parents and guardians? Hypotheses guiding the analysis: 1. There will be significant relationships between personal attitudes towards school held by African-American lower socioeconomic sixth grade students and their interpretations of their parents’ and guardians’ attitudes towards education and academic achievement. 2. Survey results will demonstrate that students who held more positive personal beliefs about education and academic achievement will also perceive stronger educational support from parents and guardians.
  7. 7. • Historical context of educational opportunities for minority students in America • Minority families and school staff racial tension • Childrearing practices and cultural differences • Unfair disciplinary practices in schools • Socioeconomic status and parent/guardian expectations on academic achievement • Establishing working relationships between families and schools
  8. 8. Inadequate academic preparation Substandard educational resources Mismatched social and academic expectations Lack of encouragement Psychological intimidation Fear of “acting White” Unstable familial and financial circumstances Inadequate peer support Lack of role models (Andre et al., 2010; Fields-Smith, 2009; Lopez & Parker, 2003; Miretzky, 2004; Ogbu, 2003; Payne, 2005)
  9. 9. Schools Total Number of Students Number of Eligible 6th Graders* Number of Participating 6th Graders African- American Population (%) Free/Reduced Lunch Participants (%) School A School B School C School D School E 330 250 499 300 400 41 39 58 40 50 10 21 35 18 20 68.1 50.9 96.3 98.4 20.7 88.8 86.2 79.0 85.3 87.8
  10. 10. Student Survey Respondents 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 School A School B School C School D School E NumberofStudents Participating Elementary Schools Number of Eligible 6th Graders Number of Participating 6th Graders
  11. 11. Schools Total Number of Students Proficient in Comm. Arts (%) African-American 6th Graders Proficient in Comm. Arts (%) Total Number of Students Proficient in Mathematics (%) African-American 6th Graders Proficient in Mathematics (%) School A 24.7 10.7 36.5 7.2 School B 20.6 10.3 29.4 33.4 School C 17.9 18.9 26.7 17.2 School D 13.3 13.5 9.6 5.4 School E 17.5 4.9 27.7 24.4
  12. 12. Lived with Mother & Father 18% Lived with Mothers 52% Lived with Fathers 3% Lived with Grandparents 21% Other 6%
  13. 13. Less Than 9th Gr. Ed 8% Some High School 24% High School Diploma or GED 31% Some College 17% College Graduate 14% Don't know 6%
  14. 14. • Students’ reactions and corresponding predictions of primary caregivers’ responses aligned in table form • Frequencies and percentages used to summarize data • Means and standard deviations used to describe students’ attitudes and perceptions • Pearson correlation analyses were used to measure the strength of the relationships
  15. 15. • Inferential statistics used to develop conclusions and make predictions about population based on information from the sample. • Correlational data established interrelationships • Paired-sample t-tests used to compare students’ responses and perceptions of primary caregivers • Cross tabulations and percentages were used to describe relationships between categorical variables • Alignment of survey responses reflected similarities and differences between students’ responses and their perceptions of their parents’ and guardians’ attitudes towards learning and academic achievement.
  16. 16. Students predicted how their primary caregivers would respond to the following statements: “My parent(s)/guardian(s) …” 1. want me to get a good education. 2. do not like it if I do not go to school. 3. do not like it if they find out I skip classes at school. 4. say positive things about my school. 5. encourage me to read at home. 6. read at home. 7. encourage me to do my homework. 8. help me with my homework. 9. like to talk to my teachers. 10. are happy when I do well at school. 11. want me to become more successful than themselves. 12. expect me to graduate from high school. 13. expect me to go to college after I graduate from high school. 14. expect me to get a full-time job after I graduate from high school or college. Survey Statements Students responded to the following statements: 1. I like to go to school. 2. I want to get a good education. 3. I get in trouble if I do not go to school. 4. I go to all of my classes when I am at school. 5. I say positive things about my school. 6. I like to read when I am at home. 7. I complete all of my homework. 8. I want my parent(s)/guardian(s) to help me with my homework. 9. I like to talk to my teachers. 10. I am happy when I do well at school. 11. I want to become more successful than my parent(s)/guardian(s). 12. I want to graduate from high school. 13. I want to go to college after I graduate from high school. 14. I want to get a full-time job after I graduate from high school or college.
  17. 17. Students Parents t-Value DF p-Value Inference Correlation Sig. Mean SD Mean SD Q2 & Q15 Q3 & Q16 Q4 & Q17 Q5 & Q18 Q6 & Q19 Q6 & Q20 Q7 & Q21 Q8 & Q22 Q9 & Q23 Q10 & Q24 Q11 & Q25 Q12 & Q26 Q13 & Q27 Q14 & Q28 3.52 3.49 3.55 2.91 2.26 2.26 2.27 2.45 2.83 3.19 3.13 3.29 2.72 3.45 .750 .836 .799 .946 .995 .995 1.026 1.004 .970 .738 .942 .844 1.056 .762 3.58 3.58 3.37 2.84 2.32 2.38 2.37 2.51 2.64 3.12 3.28 3.21 2.47 3.48 .649 .720 .997 .956 .917 .997 1.043 1.052 1.033 .673 .841 .992 1.088 .800 1.616 2.802 4.643 1.808 1.421 1.364 2.411 1.135 3.172 1.580 4.039 1.521 4.934 0.904 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 0.109 NS 0.006* 0.000* 0.073 NS 0.158 NS 0.175 NS 0.018* 0.259 NS 0.002* 0.117 NS 0.000* 0.131 NS 0.000* 0.368 NS .874 .929 .934 .896 .909 .625 .923 .874 .830 .756 .911 .854 .844 .914 .000* .000* .000* .000* .000* .000* .000* .000* .000* .000* .000* .000* .000* .000*
  18. 18. Survey Item Strongly Agreed Agreed Disagreed Strongly Disagreed I want to get a good education 64% 26% 7% 3% My parents and guardians want me to get a good education 65% 28% 6% 1%
  19. 19. Similarities in Students’Attitudes & Perceptions of Primary Caregivers • Three-fourths of the students (76%) enjoyed going to school. • Most students (90%) wanted a good education • 93% percent believed their parents and guardians wanted them to get a strong education • 92% reported that their parents did not like it if they did not attend school • 87% were happy when they were successful at school • 83% believed their primary caregivers were happy when they did well at school • 62% spoke positively about their school; 63% of the students believed their primary caregivers also spoke favorably about their school • 36% liked to read at home • 40% agreed that their primary caregivers encouraged them to read • 44% observed parents and guardians reading at home • 45% agreed primary caregivers helped them with homework
  20. 20. Similarities in Students’ Attitudes & Perceptions of Primary Caregivers Though most students believed their parents expected them to graduate from high school, their desires to graduate from high school consistently matched their perceptions of their primary caregivers’ expectations. • 75% wanted to become more successful than their parents; 79% believed their primary caregivers wanted their children to become more successful than themselves • 79% wanted to graduate from high school; 77% believed their parents expected them to graduate • The number of primary caregivers who graduated from high school (62%) was similar to the number of students who aspired to go to college (63%). • 90% wanted full-time employment after they graduated • 88% of the students believed their primary caregivers expected them to find work
  21. 21. Differences in Students’ Attitudes & Perceptions of Primary Caregivers 90% wanted a good education and 87% were happy when successful at school • 87% would get in trouble if they did not go to school; 92% acknowledged primary caregivers did not like it if they did not go to school • 86% attended all classes; 76% believed parents disapproved if they skipped classes (10% discrepancy) • 14% skipped classes; 24% reported that their primary caregivers did not care if they skipped classes • 33% completed homework; 44% received homework assistance from parents • 36% liked to read at home, 40% were not encouraged to read at home, 56% observed parents reading • 93% indicated parents wanted them to get a good education, 68% of students and 56% of parents liked talking to teachers • 75% wanted to become more successful than their parents; 79% believed their parents wanted them to be more successful than themselves • 79% wanted to graduate from high school; 77% primary caregivers expected them to receive high school diplomas, 62% of parents graduated from high school • 60% of the students wanted to go to college; 47% believed parents expected them to attend college • The number of students with desire to graduate from high school and believed parents expected them to receive a high school diploma was 11% lower than their desires and perceptions of parents expectations to find full-time employment. • 90% wanted full-time employment after graduation, 80% of students’ parents expected them to find full- time work. • Students’ desires for full-time employment were 11% higher than their aspirations to graduate from high school and 11% higher than their parents’ high school graduation expectations
  22. 22. Positive Areas of Academic Support from Primary Caregivers • 76% enjoyed going to school • 75% wanted to become more successful than their parents; 79% believed parents wanted them to become more successful than themselves • 90% wanted a good education; 93% believed parents and guardians wanted them to obtain a quality education • 62% said positive things about their schools; 63% believed parents spoke favorably about their schools • Students’ excitement about personal successes at school (87%) as favorable as perceptions of parents’ delight (83%) when they experienced success • 79% wanted to graduate from high school; 79% believed parents wanted them to be more successful than themselves • 77% believed primary caregivers expected them to graduate from high school • 60% wanted to attend college, 90% of the students wanted to get a full- time job after they received high school or college diplomas • 62% of parents graduated from high school; about one-third (31%) enrolled in college courses or graduated from college
  23. 23. Negative Areas of Academic Support from Primary Caregivers • 90% wanted a good education, 87% were happy when successful at school, 79% wanted to graduate from high school. • Number of students aspiring to graduate from high school (79%) and who wanted to attend college (60%) lower than the number of students wanting full-time employment after graduation (90%) • Number of students who believed parents expected them to attend college was 13% lower than the number of students who wanted to attend college. • 87% would get in trouble if they did not go to school; 92% believed parents disapproved if they did not go to school. Although 86% did not skip classes, 76% indicated parents were concerned if they attended classes • About one-third of the students liked to read at home; less than half were not encouraged to read at home and less than half did not observe parents reading • About one-third revealed they completed homework; 44% liked parents to help them with homework. Less than half were encouraged or assisted with homework by parents Almost one- fourth of the students strongly disagreed they received homework assistance from parents . • Three-fourths of the students enjoyed going to school; fewer students (68%) liked to talk with their teachers and 56% claimed parents liked to talk to teachers. 32% of primary caregivers did not graduate from high school or complete GED; 6% knew nothing about parents’ and guardians’ educational histories. 90% wanted to find full-time employment after high school or college graduation; 88% believed parents expected them to find work after graduation
  24. 24. • Although most students reported that their caregivers disapproved if they did not go to school, they believed primary caregivers were less concerned if they attended all of their classes. • Less than half of the students completed their homework or read at home. Similarly, less than half of the students received routine encouragement from parents and guardians to complete homework or read at home. • Although most students indicated that receiving a strong educational foundation was an important priority, one in four students disagreed that they wanted to graduate from high school. Less than half of the students indicated a desire to go to college. • Students who wanted to graduate from high school was about the same as (a) the number of students who believed their parents and guardians shared their aspirations and (b) the number of students who actually graduated from high school. • Students who wanted to attend college was about the same as (a) the number of students who believed their parents and guardians shared their aspirations and (b) the number of students who actually attended or graduated from college.
  25. 25. Survey Item Strongly Agreed Agreed Disagreed Strongly Disagreed I get in trouble if I do not go to school 66% 21% 8% 5% My parents & guardians do not like it if I do not go to school 68% 24% 5% 3% Survey Item Strongly Agreed Agreed Disagreed Strongly Disagreed I go to all of my classes when I am at school 71% 15% 11% 3% My parents & guardians do not like it if they find out I skipped classes at school 68% 8% 17% 7% 87% 86% (-1%) 92% 74% (-18%)
  26. 26. Survey Item Strongly Agreed Agreed Disagreed Strongly Disagreed I want to graduate from high school 52% 27% 19% 2% My parents & guardians expect me to graduate from high school 53% 24% 14% 9% Survey Item Strongly Agreed Agreed Disagreed Strongly Disagreed I want to go to college after I graduate from h.s. 29% 31% 247% 16% My parents & guardians expect me to go to college after I graduate from h.s. 23% 24% 30% 23% 79% 60% (-19%) 77% 47% (-30%)
  27. 27. High School Graduation vs Full-time Employment after Graduation Survey Item Strongly Agreed Agreed Disagreed Strongly Disagreed I want to graduate from high school 52% 27% 19% 2% My parents & guardians expect me to graduate from high school 53% 24% 14% 9% Survey Item Strongly Agreed Agreed Disagreed Strongly Disagreed I want to get a full- time job after I graduate from hs.or college 59% 31% 7% 3% My parents & guardians expect me to get a full-time job after I graduate from h.s. or college 63% 25% 8% 4% 79% 90% (+11%) 77% 88% (+11%)
  28. 28. KCMSD vs Missouri Drop-Out & Graduation Rates KCMSD HIGH SCHOOL DROP-OUT RATE (%) 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 9.8 (-6.2) 17.4 (-13.9) 6.0 (-2.2) 8.6 (-5.2) 26.5 (-22.7) KCMSD HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATE (%) 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 75.7 (-10.5) 69.1 (-16.8) 64.2 (-21.4) 65.2 (-20.6) 55.1 (-30.7) MISSOURI HIGH SCHOOL DROP-OUT RATE (%) 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 3.6 3.5 3.8 3.4 3.8 MISSOURI HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATE (%) 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 86.2 85.9 85.6 85.8 85.8
  29. 29. Note: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (2011)
  30. 30. Missouri 80.4% Asian 86.1 Black 65.3 Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 81.0 Hispanic 74.2 Indian 77.0 White 85.8 Multi-Race 91.8 Female 84.0 Male 77.1 Free/Reduced Lunch 74.8 Limited English Proficient 61.3 Special Education 67.0 KCMO School District 57.2% Asian 83.8 Black 58.4 (-6.9%) Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Hispanic 59.2 Indian 50.0 White 38.1 (-47.7%) Multi-Race Female 62.2 Male 38.6 Free/Reduced Lunch 55.0 (-19.8%) Limited English Proficient 43.1 Special Education 41.8 Note: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (2011)
  31. 31. • 21% of the survey participants lived with grandparents • In 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 1.3 million African-American grandparents lived with their children and grandchildren. • U.S. Census Bureau: 50% of students living with grandparents were responsible for their care • Grandparent caregivers needed current and accessible information and assistance about legal and financial issues, support services, health and housing information, and guidance about education and childrearing (AARP, 2003, p. 2).
  32. 32. * Maintain high expectations and standards for all students and clearly defined means for students to achieve expectations. • Provide clear goals and objectives for students which are clearly communicated to primary caregivers and families. • Promote clear rules of behavior and fair consequences for all students. • Document school policies and provide regular announcements of upcoming school events. • Distribute monthly newsletters highlighting student achievement and successes at school and within the community. • Send personal invitations and opportunities for primary caregivers and families to see their children perform at school events. • Provide informal opportunities for families and school staff members to casually to promote sense of community at school. • Facilitate parent and family programs and workshops that help primary caregivers improve parenting skills. • Provide education courses that help parents promote learning and homework assistance at home. • Create learning opportunities for families from linguistically different backgrounds to acquire the means to acquire English skills. • Send written communications to parents and guardians in the native language of non-English speaking families.
  33. 33. • Prepare teachers with tools and resources needed to support parent and family involvement through professional development. • Promote appreciation for multicultural differences through invitations to parents and guardians to share their expertise and experiences, serve as cooperative advisors, editors, and advocates for their children, in the schools . • Promote appreciation for ethnic differences by providing opportunities for families and school staffs to celebrate cultural events such as Martin Luther King Day, Cinco de Mayo, Chinese New Year). • Invite and involve parents and guardians in various roles at school during the day such as one-on- one student mentoring, library assistants, classroom aides, clerical assistance. • Host monthly forums for parents and guardians to discuss important topics such as homework and achievement testing. • Work with parents to recruit volunteers to develop child care services for single-mothers and primary caregivers with young children to encourage their participation at school events. • Form governance vehicles that encouraged response and input from parents and guardians. • Build strong relationships with students and families through home visits, regular parent meetings, and positive daily interaction. • Assist primary caregivers and families in locating community resources necessary to help them accomplish their parenting, employment, educational, and personal goals.
  34. 34. • “Thus far, school desegregation has failed because many educators have not examined beliefs and assumptions about cultural differences” (Caruthers, 2005). • Courageous conversations require mutual honesty and respect • Fear of sounding angry, offensive, ignorant, or politically incorrect often leads to avoidance, silence, and misunderstandings. • Dialogues inviting trust lead to greater understanding and, ultimately, transformation. • Morago (1983) stated: The danger lies in ranking the oppressions. The danger lies in failing to acknowledge the specificity of the oppression. The danger lies in attempting to deal with oppression purely from a theoretical base. Without an emotional, heartfelt grappling with the source of our own oppression, without naming the enemy within ourselves and outside of us, no authentic, non- hierarchical connection among oppressed groups can take place.

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