A study of African American mathematics achievement in high performing and marginal performing middle schools in Texas



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Since the "Nation at Risk" report, there has been a social microscope on the growing achievement gap and factors that contribute to the increasing lack of academic improvement from African American students. In the State of Texas, there are no publicized examples of at-risk schools that have traditionally been successful with African American students in mathematics. Therefore, there was a need to investigate researched-based strategies that promoted African American student achievement in mathematics. This study utilized surveys, interviews, focus groups, and data to determine why specific middle schools in the State of Texas were successful with African American student achievement in mathematics. Data was collected from selected schools with academically successful African American students. Pertinent information was gathered through the investigation of factors that fostered the success of African American students in mathematics. Organizational factors such as quality of leadership, positive school community structures, and instructional student leadership were examined to determine methods successful in motivating African American students to succeed in mathematics. Instructional factors such as teacher quality and teacher educational belief systems were also analyzed for components leading to successful performance of African American students in mathematics. The findings were that a progression of success factors must be present to ensure "exemplary" performance. Schools' ability to facilitate positive organizational factors, instructional factors, group processes, and faculty sponsorship was more likely to help African American students perform better than their marginal peers. Additional research at the high school level was recommended to investigate strategies proved to be effective in raising mathematical achievement of African American students at middle schools