Dissertation Proposal Defense by Ronald Lancia
Date and Time
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, Room 139
ACCOUNTING FOR THE ATTRITION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES IN AN ACADEMIC SUPPORT SETTING
The proposed dissertation seeks to address a continuing crisis in our nation’s education system, namely the reproduction of black male inequality as evidenced by a lingering achievement gap. Recently many school and programmatic initiatives have been offered to improve academic outcomes for black males and remedy this glaring inequity, but in spite of these efforts, the gap persists. In 2009, AVID, a program designed to address the achievement gap, created the African American Male Initiative (AAMI). This program was intended to ameliorate some of the factors traditionally hindering black male achievement, but, disappointingly, AVID has had a difficult time attracting and retaining black male participants.
The purpose of this study is to better understand why African American high school males are not choosing to participate in the AVID AAMI, or once enrolled do not continue their participation in the program—a program that is specifically designed to employ a culturally responsive pedagogy and ensure the retention of black males.
A mixed methodology will be used to examine the causes of the AAMI’s attrition issues. Through an analysis of five AAMI pilot schools, this study uses retention statistics, qualitative interview and survey data collected from AVID students, teachers and coordinators, as well as data generated through observations of AAMI classes to construct case studies of each school and a cross case analysis.
This study will focus primarily on three general contributors to African American male education outcomes previously identified in the research: 1) individual and student-centered issues, 2) cultural factors, and 3) the structure of the system. The contributions and implications of this research for the AVID AAMI, and for educators and policy makers focused on narrowing the achievement gap and improving educational outcomes for all students will also be examined.
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