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1 A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY OF THE RESILIENCE OF FIRST GENERATION BLACK MALE COLLEGE STUDENTS By LAUREN TRIPP BARLIS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Lauren Tripp Barlis
3 To my participants: I am forever grateful for your stories and your dedication May your words inspire generations of teachers and students as they have inspired me.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS A project of this size would never be completed without help. First of all, I want to thank my participants. Without their bravery and w illingness to share their stories, this would never have been possible. I would also like to thank my advisor, Dr. Dorene Ross who pushed me, encouraged me, and made me a bet ter writer and a more thorough scholar. I am so grateful that you di th version of this project! I also want to express my gratitude to the other members of my committee, Dr. Alyson Adams, Dr. Eileen Oliver, and Dr. James McLe skey, for their enthusiasm, support and insightful contributions to my thinking. I am grateful for the support of my family and my friends. You believed in me and in my work even when I did not, and it was your support that kept me going. I would also li ke to send a thank you to my former high school students in Baltimore County. Sharing i n your learning was a privilege; being part of your lives inspired me to dedicate my life to improving education for all students. Finally, a thank you hardly seems ade quate for my husband, Jeff. I am grateful for your presence in my life, for your belief in me, for all the times you made me laugh instead of cry never have made it through this proce ss without you.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 8 DEFINITION OF TERMS ................................ ................................ ................................ 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 CHAPTERS 1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM ................................ ................................ ......... 12 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 17 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 18 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ............ 21 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 21 Barriers to Academic Success ................................ ................................ ................ 22 Poverty and Race ................................ ................................ ............................. 22 Housing ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 23 Health Care ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 25 Schooling and Race ................................ ................................ ......................... 27 Lack of resources due to property segregation ................................ .......... 27 Teacher quality and the cultural divide ................................ ....................... 28 Discipline policies ................................ ................................ ....................... 30 Resilience ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 33 Supportive Home Relationships ................................ ................................ ....... 35 High parental monitoring and expectations ................................ ................ 35 Parental work history and work ethic ................................ ......................... 36 Supportive School Relationships ................................ ................................ ...... 37 Caring school personnel ................................ ................................ ............ 37 Positive teacher student relationships ................................ ....................... 38 Individual Characteristics ................................ ................................ .................. 40 Self efficacy ................................ ................................ ............................... 40 Work ethic ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 41 Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 42 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 45 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 45 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 47 Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ ........................... 47 Participant Selection ................................ ................................ ............................... 48
6 First Generation College Students ................................ ................................ ... 48 Black First Generation College Students from High Poverty High Schools ...... 49 School Setting ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 5 0 Sample Selection ................................ ................................ ............................. 51 Data Collection and Analysis ................................ ................................ .................. 52 Interviews ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 53 Coding ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 55 Trustworthiness ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 57 Subjectivity Statement ................................ ................................ ............................ 59 4 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 61 Participant Descriptions ................................ ................................ .......................... 61 Felipe ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 61 John ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 62 Trey ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 62 Ryan ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 62 George ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 63 Marcus ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 63 Data Analysis Process ................................ ................................ ............................ 64 Article Descriptions ................................ ................................ ................................ 66 Article 1: T he Dynamic Interaction of Relationships ................................ ................ 70 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 73 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ 73 Theoretical framework ................................ ................................ ............... 74 Data collection and analysis ................................ ................................ ....... 76 The Hardiness Framework ................................ ................................ ............... 78 A Grounded Theory of Resilience ................................ ................................ .... 80 Commitment ................................ ................................ ............................... 82 Control ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 87 Challenge ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 91 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 95 Conc lusion and Implications ................................ ................................ ............. 99 Article 2: Expanding the Definition of Parental Involvement ................................ .. 102 Moving Beyond Deficit Thinking ................................ ................................ ..... 104 A Broader Definition of Parental Involvement ................................ ................. 105 Qualitative Methodology ................................ ................................ ................. 107 Participants ................................ ................................ .............................. 108 Data collection and analysis ................................ ................................ ..... 109 Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 110 ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 111 ........... 113 parenting, you have to tell ................................ .................. 115 Discussion and Conclusion ................................ ................................ ............ 117 Article 3: Relationships That Break the Color Line ................................ ................ 121
7 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 121 A Plan to Meet a Challenge ................................ ................................ ............ 122 A Personal Investment ................................ ................................ ................... 123 Real World Issues ................................ ................................ .......................... 123 Valuable Guidance ................................ ................................ ......................... 124 Lessons Learned ................................ ................................ ............................ 124 5 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS ................................ ................................ ..... 126 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 126 Review of the Stud y ................................ ................................ .............................. 126 Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 129 Implications for Future Research ................................ ................................ .......... 136 Recommendations for Teacher Educators and Practicing Educators ................... 139 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 141 APPENDICES A LITERATURE REVIEW CHART ................................ ................................ ........... 142 B SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ................................ ................................ .... 151 C FINAL CATEGORIES WITH INITIAL CODES ................................ ...................... 153 D DYNAMIC RELATIONSHIP DIAGRAM ................................ ................................ 154 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 155 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 171
8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 108
9 DEFINITION OF TERMS B LACK Black Americans of African descent and any Black Americans who do not identify as being of African descent, as well as Black Americans who are of Caribbean or Hispanic descent (Boykin & Noguera, 2011). F IRST G ENERATION C OLLEGE S TUDENT A college student wh ose parents or guardians did not earn a baccalaureate degree (Choy, 2001) H IGH P OVERTY S CHOOL Public school where 76% to 100% of the students are eligible for free or reduced priced lunch (NCES, 2010) P REDOMINANTLY W HITE I NSTITUTION ( PWI ) A university or college where more than 50% of the student population is White R ESILIENCE 2000, p. 543) S UCCESS As this study focuses on explo their own success, it is important to define the use of the term here to mean graduating from a high poverty high school and being the first in their family to attend a highly competitive, predominantly White, four year un iversity.
10 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY OF THE RESILIENCE OF FIRST GENERATION BLACK MALE COLLEGE STUDENTS By Lauren Tripp Barlis August 2013 Chair: Dorene Ross Major: Curriculum and Instruction Research on the academic achievement of Black and White students in our nation's educational system re veals substantial evidence of differential patterns of achievement. Black students living in high poverty neighborhoods are likely to face more barriers to academic success than other students from similar socio economic groups, including lack of access to a high quality education, school resources, and high quality teachers. Black males face even more barriers, as they have a greater likelihood of being expelled, disciplined, or referred to special education than their peers. These risk factors, however, d o not determine academic outcomes. Those who do succeed in the face of adversity are defined as resilient. Research in the area of resilience has examined the individual characteristics of resilience, as well as the categories of relationships that suppor t the development of resilience. However, there are only a limited number of studies on how the dynamic interaction of supportive relationships specifically supports the development of resilience in Black male students from high poverty neighborhoods. This grounded theory study therefore examined the interaction of the factors that supported the resilience of six Black male college students, who despite the presence of additional risk
11 factors such as living in poverty and being the first in their families t o attend a four year university demonstrated exceptional academic success. Grounded theory methods of data collection and analysis were used to examine their perspectives on the development of their resilience, with the goal of addressing the research que stion: What theory explains the resilience of first generation Black male college students from high poverty high schools? Findings indicated that these students experienced three main categories of relationships in the development of their resilience: fam ily support, school support, and external support. The interactions of these three categories included family members encouraging the development of personal relationships with their teachers, as well as a partnership between schools and a community progra m to provide mentoring. The interactions among these relationships are described and analyzed, and the study concludes with a discussion of the implications and areas for further research in order to support the development of resilience in Black males in high poverty schools.
12 CHAPTER 1 STATEMENT OF THE PRO BLEM Research on the academic achievement of Black and White 1 students in our nation's educational system reveals substantial evidence of differential patterns. This is commonly referred to as the "achievement gap." Black students are likely to hold lower grade point averages and weaker aptitude test scores than White students, as w ell as lower rates of school readiness (Aud, Fox, & KewalRamani, 2010). Research has also demonstrated that Black students are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to enroll in and graduate from college (Aud, et al., 2010; National Center for E ducation Statistics, 201 2; Osborn e & Walker, 2006). The research on Black males is even bleaker: they face a greater likelihood of being placed in special education, retained a grade, and suspended or expelled (Davis, 2003; Garibaldi, 1992; Howard, 2003; Ladson Billings, 2000; Skiba, Homer, Chung, grade level black males are about one standard deviation below the non Hispanic, white student population in test measu res of student achievement about at the 16th less than half (47 percent) of all Black male high school students graduated in four years from U.S. high schools i n 2008, compared to 78 percent of White male students ( Holzman 2010). 1 Hispanic, and students Americans of African descent and any Black Americans who do not identify as being of African descent, as well as Black Americans who are of Caribbean or Hispanic descent (Boykin & Noguera, 2011).
13 The long lasting effects of these academic achievement gaps continue to warrant theoretical and empirical analysis, especially as educational attainment is positively correlated with o ne's socioeconomic status (Pallas, 2000). In other words, the continued existence of academic achievement gaps leads to the continued existence of racial inequality in general. Increasing the knowledge base therefore is crucial in order to reduce racial di sparities within educational outcomes and within society as a whole. As the achievement gap is directly related to income inequality, the increasing gap between rich and poor families is a cause for concern. Families whose income falls into the bottom 20t h percentile saw a seven percent increase in their income between 1977 and 2007; families in the top 99th percentile saw a 90 percent increase (Duncan & Murnane, 2011). Increasing residential segregation adds to this problem as those with higher incomes a re more likely to live in homogeneous, segregated neighborhoods with other families just like them, while those with lower incomes are much less likely to experience upward mobility or to move out of poor neighborhoods (Massey, 2007). Poor neighborhoods of ten have poor schools, due to the property tax funding of public schools, thus continuing the cycle of segregation. Poor neighborhoods also face a lack of literacy resources, with as many as 50 percent fewer bookstores or even 50 percent fewer books within school libraries (Neuman, 2013). The contributing factors to this achievement gap also include the increased probability that Black students will live in these poor neighborhoods and therefore attend schools with fewer resources and more poorly qualified teachers than those attended by White students from similar socio economic backgrounds (A ud, et al., 2010; Berliner, 2006 ; Hughes, Stenhjem, & Newkirk, 2007; Puma, et al., 1997; Tavernise, 2011). Black
14 students living in high poverty neighborhoods in part icular face more barriers to academic success than other students from similar socio economic groups (Boykin & Noguera, 2011; Everson & Millsap, 2004; Hollins, King, & Hayman, 1994; Jencks & Phillips, 1998; King, 2005). These barriers often include lack of stable housing and health care, as well as lack of access to a high quality education, as determined by Fund, 2012; Darling Hammond, 2010; Hertz, 2005). Black students from high poverty neighborhoods are likely to attend neighborhood schools with fewer resources, higher concentrations of poor and minority students, lower quality teachers, and more student disciplinary actions (Hughes, Stenhjem, & Newkirk, 2007; Puma, et al., 1997). The lack of resources and lack of preparation to teach in these environments also drive many of the best teachers away from high poverty schools. Teachers are 50 percent more likely to leave schools with higher poverty levels and higher concen trations of minorities than they are to leave schools with lower levels of minority students living in poverty (Ingersoll, 2001; Scafidi, Sjoquist, & Stinebrickner, 2007 ). High poverty schools serving non White students are more likely to employ inexper ie nced teachers (Shields, Humphrey, Wechsler, Riel Tiffany Mo rales, & Woodworth 2001). This lack of experience and preparation specifically for working with a high with their students. This fact alone contributes significantly to the achievement gap, as certified teachers, particularly those who have taught for two years or more, have been found to be significantly more effective at narrowing the achievement gap than
15 uncertified teachers (Clotfelter, Ladd & Vigdor, 2007; Darling Hammond 2010 ; Easton Broo ks & Davis, 2009). The demographic and cultural divide between predominately White female teachers and Black male students can also contribute to the likelihood that Black male students will drop out or be referred for behavior infractions (Ladson Billing s, 2000; Skiba, Homer, Chung, Rausch, May, & Tobin, 2011; Noguera, 2009). Despite these barriers to achievement, certain Black male students from high poverty backgrounds still achieve academic success. These students have developed resilience, a term whi (Luthar, Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000, p. 543). Bonnie Benard (1991) created possibly the most well known fra mework of resilience, which includes both individual characteristics and external protective factors that contribute to the nurturing of resilience. Those who are defined as resilient within this framework demonstrate the presence of the following individu al characteristics: Social competence (responsiveness, cultural flexibility, empathy, caring, communication skills, and a sense of humor); Problem solving (planning, help seeking, critical and creative thinking); Autonomy (sense of identity, self effica cy, self awareness, task mastery, and adaptive distancing from negative messages and conditions); A sense of purpose and belief in a bright future (goal direction, educational aspirations, optimism, faith, and spiritual connectedness) These individual cha racteristics, however, do not tell the whole story of the development of resilience. They are the manifestations of resi lience or the outcomes students develop these charact eristics? In summarizing resilience research, Benard (1991) also created a framework of three categories of protective factors that support
16 the development of resilience: caring relationships, high expectation messages, and opportunities for meaningful par ticipation and contribution (Benard, 1991). These categories are examined in isolation, however, and these supportive factors do not operate in isolation. Their interaction can be much more powerful if studied as such (Garmezy, 1991; Luthar, Doernberger, & Zigler, 1993). This study addresses that need and also focuses on a specific group who is more likely to face significant risk factors: Black males. One of the purposes of resilience research is to enhance understanding of the resilience process in order to increase the resilience of at risk students. In order to accomplish this, many researchers have specifically examined at risk racial subpopulations in order to identify their differences and similarities in developing resilience (e.g. Ford, 1 996; Gandar a, 1995; Gardynik & McDonald, 2005; Gibson, 1996; Milstein & Henry, 2000; Morales, 2000; Myers & Taylor, 1998). In examining racial differences in resilience, researchers have found that resilient Black students reported having supportive relationships wit h teachers, parents, or other mentors, and having a sense of self efficacy, which is identified as a crucial factor in developing resilience (Borman & Overman, 2004; Cunningham & Swanson, 2010; Morales, 2008; Morales, 2010; Peck, Roeser, Zarrett, & Eccles, 2008; Wasonga, Christman & Kilmer, 2003). Only one of those studies examines how the dynamic interaction of relationships specifically supports the development of the resilience of minority students from high poverty neighborhoods (Morales, 2010). The pa rticipants of that study were Black and Hispanic males and females. In fact, 31 of the pa rticipants were female, and 19 were male. Given the specific barriers to academic success that Black males face, as well as
17 the reality that Black males, regardless of class status, lag behind Black female students in achievement scores and graduation rates, a narrower population sample was appropriate for this study (Harper, 2012; Hubbard, 1999; Roach, 2001). Purpose of the Study The purpose of this research was to generate a theory describing the resilience of first generation Black male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools and were attending a large, public, predominantly White university in the southern United States. One question emerged from that purpose: What theory explains the resilience of first generation Black male college students from high poverty high schools? This research question was addressed in a social constructivist, grounded theory study, based in interviews with six firs t generation Black male college students. This study focused on how a specific group of resilient Black students became successful as demonstrated by graduating from a high poverty high school and being the first in their family to attend a highly competit ive, four year university. Learning more about the factors these students believed supported them in getting ready for and into college, and more importantly, about the interaction of those factors, provided a framework for understanding how to support oth er Black male students in developing resilience. Since I was specifically interested in the perspectives of students who can be generation college student and graduating from a high poverty hi gh school was important. For instance, students graduate from a four year university than students whose parents never went to college (Radford, Berkner Wheeless, & Shep herd, 2010). The chances of graduating from high
18 school, let alone attending college, are also much lower for those who attend a high school where more than 75% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. On average, 68 percent of 12th grade students in high poverty high schools graduated with a diploma in 2007 2008, compared to 91 percent of students from schools with less than 25 percent of their students eligible for free or reduced lunch (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). As these figures suggest Black first generation male college students, who graduated from high poverty high schools, and were attending a highly competitive Predominantly White Institution (PWI), may be defined as resilient. By exploring their perspectives on their own resilienc e, this study discove red more ways to scaffold and empower Black youth to disrupt the trend reflected in these statistics. Significance of the Study In addition to the gap in the literature described above (the lack of focus on the dynamic interaction of relationships in developing resilience in Black males ), many resilience studies are based on surveys and quantitative data, which do not capture the specific stories of these students. The quantitative studies p rovide little insight into how students developed the characteristic of self efficacy, or exactly what supportive relationships look like; therefore, qualitative methods were used in the current study in order to examine important discourses and nuances of might be less visible in large scale studies (Mishna, Saini, & Solomon, 2009). A focus on processes that promote resiliency, rather than the individual characteristics of resilient students, reflects a current trend in resilien cy research (Davey, Eaker & Walters, 2003). As Benard (2004) explains:
19 We must work together to weave a fabric of resilience that connects not just young people to their families, schools, and communities but one that connects families to schools and commu nities, and schools and communities to each other. (p. 109) Examining the process of the development of resilience through the stori es of these participants revealed how these protective relationships interacted and intersected in order to scaffold the dev elopment of resilience for future Black male students. This also address es the clear need for qualitative resilience studies that allow participants to share their stories in greater depth and for theory that originates from those stories, focusing on the mechanisms by which the interactions among these supportive factors keep vulnerable youth on track educationally (Peck, et al., 2008). This study is also necessary due to the lack of Black student voices in the literature. Instead of continuing to identif y the struggles which Black students face, this study contributes to an emerging body of research on Black student perspectives about how to support their own academic success. The focus on Black male students specifically does not suggest that race is in any way a deter minant in academic achievement, but instead acknowledges that identifying as a Black male, specifically from a high risk student ( Darling Hammond, 2010; Nieto, 1999; Sk iba, Homer, Chung, Rausch, May, & Tobin, 2011; Warikoo & Carter, 2009 ) If one is interested in the varied factors that enable Black male students to be resilient in the face of adversity, one must examine the perspectives of these students directly While we know a good amount about the factors that prevent Black male students from academic success, much less is known about the perspectives of successful Black male students or their beliefs about the factors that contributed to their
20 success. Most i 164). This qualitative, interview based study contributes to the literature by creating a theory of resilience from the words of the students themselves and looks to the source for a better solution that leads to academic success for all students, especially for those who face significant risk factors.
21 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERA TURE Introduction The purpose of this research wa s to generate a theory explaining the resilience of first generation Black male college students from high poverty high schools, who were attending a large, public, predominately White university in the southern United States. F Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000, p. 543). This study focuses in particular on the factors that provi de support for academic success, as described by the participants. This is relevant for Black students who graduated from high poverty high schools, as the literature shows that Black students in particular face more barriers to academic success than other students from similar socio economic groups (Boykin & Noguera, 2011; Everson & Millsap, 2004; Hollins, King, & Hayman, 1994; Jencks & Phillips, 1998; King, 2005). In analyzing the factors surrounding the achievement gap, most studies can be classified as either focusing on the failure of schools to close the gap between Black and White students, or on the success of certain students in overcoming this gap. To build a foundation for understanding the importance of this study, this chapter synthesizes lite rature in two areas: the empirical and theoretical literature related to barriers to academic success for this particular group of students and the empirical literature related to resilience, specifically the supportive factors found to explain the resilie nce of Black students from high poverty schools or low SES families.
22 Barriers to Academic Success This section will analyze the literature on specific barriers to academic success for Black students, specifically group characteristics such as poverty leve l correlated to race, and school characteristics correlated to poverty level and race. The literature was reviewed using the following criteria for inclusion: (1) empirical studies and theoretical articles that were published within the last 20 years; (2) empirical studies that directly examined barriers to academic success for Black students from high poverty schools or low SES families; and (3) theoretical articles that examined the central theories that have been used to explain the barriers to academic success for Black students from high poverty schools or low SES families. Poverty and Race The financial and academic disparity between students from high poverty and low poverty schools is one of the clear barriers to academic success for Black students from high poverty schools. This disparity can be examined through the factors of inequitable housing and health care, as students in high poverty schools are likely to lack stable housing and stable health care, and many of those students are B lack. Accor ding to the 2010 United States Census, 27.4 percent of Blacks currently living in America are living in poverty, defined as earning $11,139 or less for an individual in chances of living in poverty, as a recent report by the Pew Research Center revealed 2009; the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth; and the typical white hous ehold had $113,149 mobility is also often impacted by race. The Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID)
23 revealed that 42% of Blacks born in the bottom tenth of the income distribution remained in tha t same income bracket as adults, while only 17% of Whites exemplified this same pattern. This pattern of remaining at the bottom for Blacks persisted across generations (Hertz, 2005). Living in poverty negatively affects students in multiple and often laye red ways. Two that have pronounced impact are housing and health care. Housing As a large number of Black children are born into poverty or will experience poverty during childhood, the ability of these students to better their situation economically is l imited by the poverty of their neighborhood and their families. A lack of academic opportunities usually results in a minimum wage job for many students living in poverty. Black men are more likely to work a minimum wage job than White men; in 2011, Black men employed full time earned an average of $653 per week, which is only 76.3 percent of the average salary earned by White men (United States Department of Labor, 2012). Working a minimum wage job prevents economic mobility for many families, and also pr events the ability to secure stable housing. Currently, there is not a single state in the country where a minimum wage worker can afford to rent a two bedroom apartment safe and sanitary housing for low income families, are only used by a fraction of the families eligible for them, despite recent studies linking improved educational outcomes to their use (Carlson, et al., 2011; Rothstein, 2002). In her 2001 book Nickel a nd Dimed journalist Barbara Ehrenreich attempted to support herself on several minimum wage jobs, such as waiting tables or working at Wal Mart. Despite the advantages of her race, education, good health, a car, a laptop, and $1000 in start up funds, Ehre nreich was
24 only able to fully cover her month's expenses once over the course of two years of working minimum wage jobs in three different states. Inequitable housing opportunities may also be a result not only of wage inequities, but also of direct governmental influence in the form of a Federal Housing insurance a nd bank practice which involved refusing to insure specific neighborhoods, or give loans of any kind to individuals or businesses in those neighborhoods, due to poverty levels or racial demographics. These neighborhoods were outlined in red on in order to have their loans federally backed. Millicent Cox, a San Diego economist and demographer, used federally created redlining maps from the 1930s in conjunction with current census data to compare two San Diego neighborhoods. On the redlining map, the Mission Hills neighborhood was e were prevented from obtaining home loans. The 1990 and 2000 recent census data revealed that the Mission Hills neighborhood still remained above the 95th percentile in San Diego County in median home value, and in the 99 th percentile for population class ified as the fifth percentile in home value, with only three percent of the population classified as White, and less than one quarter the rate of home ownership. The practice of redlining, though now illegal, is still impacting the distribution of wealth in San Diego today (Tooby, 2007).
25 There is also a lack of government funds to fully support housing needs. The Section 8 housing voucher program serves 2.1 million households t hat contain more than 5.2 million individuals yet it cannot cover the needs of all families living in poverty income families, the elderly, (U.S. Department of Housing, 2010, p. 1). By receiving Section 8 vouchers, fam ilies would be eligible for income based rent, which would give them the opportunity to live in clean, affordable, and steady housing. Not having to worry about housing would free parents to worry about other issues, and possibly give them more time to spe nd helping Several features of Section 8 voucher receipt are likely to lead to improved educational outcomes for the children of recipient families, according to a 2011 study of the costs and benefits as sociated with Section 8 housing in Wisconsin. Carlson, et al. (2011) found that because of program induced changes in the neighborhoods, children of voucher recipients were likely to attend better schools and receive more child care services, both of which were likely to increase child achievement. Finally, voucher receipt resulted in increased family income, which has been found to improve educational outcomes overall. Health Care Another factor impacting the achievement of students living in poverty is h ealth care. Low income families are unable to provide some of the things that their middle income neighbors see as necessities, such as regular check ups. When children are sick, they cannot learn. Their parents are also without care, and this can impede t heir efforts to provide basic needs for their children. Health care is a tremendous need for
26 low income families, and if better programs existed, many academic problems could be resolved. Having regular checkups, including dental and vision, could potentia lly correct some problems that could quickly become serious. More persistent issues, such as attention problems or depression, could also be treated (Rothstein, 2002) Students whose parents do not have he alth insurance are likely to face health problems, and Defense Fund, 2012). A lack of health insurance prevents students from having regular check ups and leads to p arents using the emergency room to tre at illnesses like colds and flu Black students can face health care issues from birth, as infants born to Black mothers are twice as likely to be born at low birthweight as infants born to White fense Fund, 2012). The risk of a child being lead poisoned, developing asthma, having emergency asthma events, or being injured or disabled is higher if one is low income, minority, and liv ing in poor housing (Cubbin & Smith 2002; Hynes, 2012). Children w ho struggle with health problems are more likely to struggle in school, especially in the areas of motivation and ability to learn (Basch, 2011). Fantuzzo, LeBoeuf, Rouse and Chen (2012) found that the Black third grade male students in their study who we re maltreated, exposed to high amounts of lead in their homes or schools, or had mothers with inadequate prenatal care demonstrated lower reading achievement scores. They also found that the Black students in their study were 3.6 times more likely than the White students to experience the highest level of risk factors mentioned above.
27 Schooling and Race The probability of Black students living in poverty directly affects their academic achievement. Black children who live in a neighborhood with a high pov erty rate have an average learning loss equivalent to a full year of school and high school graduation rates that are as much as 20 percentage points lower than those in wealthier inority students are placed in schools that have fewer resources, have higher concentrations of poor and minority students, have lower quality teachers, and have more student discipl inary actions (Hughes, Stenhjem & Newkirk, 2007; Puma, et al., 1997). Lac k of resources due to property segregation The schools serving the highest concentration of Black students are likely to be large urban schools, which are often characterized by high poverty, high minority populations. Despite the promise of Brown vs. Boar d of Education, most large urban school districts today remain segregated. In fact, the white population in the public schools of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and St. Louis was at 15% or less in the 2007 2008 academic year (McNeal, 2009) This can be traced back to the inequitable practice of redlining previously mentioned in the housing section, as well as relocated to suburban districts in order to av oid the desegregation of schools (Clotfelter, 1999, 2004; Diamond, Ledwith, & Clark, 2007; Logan et al., 2008). This practice still continues as recent studies on parental choice have observed that White families are more concerned about the presence of p oor minority students in urban public schools, and are more likely to choose suburban or private schools for their own
28 children due to this fact (Clotfelter, 2004; Reber, 2005; Jego & Roehner, 2006; Ledwith & Clark, 2007; Logan et al., 2008; Zhang, 2008). This segregation is then reflected in the inequitable distribution of school resources. A lower tax revenue base in urban areas means a decline in funding for the neighborhood schools (Anyon, 2005) Most schools in cities now receive far less money per student than their counterparts in more affluent neighborhoods. Less money in the schools means less money to pay the most experienced teachers, less access to costly but effective curricular materials and other resources, a nd fewer day to day necessities, like copy paper and textbooks. These schools usually have larger class sizes and are forced to use a basal curriculum with emphasis on drill and memorization, which is an effort to increase test scores without teaching crit ical thinking skills (Banks, Cochran Smith & Moll, 2005) In order for the high poverty students to make the gains their peers are making, they need extra money. Inste ad, most face an extreme lack of funds, exemplified by the over $2,000 shortfall per student in New York (Books, 2007). funding systems, which means that high poverty schoo l districts have less state and local revenue. The disparity in funds between low poverty and high poverty schools is also connected to the fact that low income parents in high poverty schools often do not have the ability to lobby more effectively for ext ra programs, computers, library materials, etc., or the ability to inspect, and complain about the neglect of, the school s teacher (Darling Hammond, 2010 ). Teacher quality and the cultural divide Teach er quality has been measured in many different ways, but most reveal a disparity in teacher quality based on the poverty level and minority population level of
29 the school. High poverty schools face another roadblock due to lack of resources when it comes t o hiring high quality teachers. According to a study of the 50 largest California school districts, high poverty schools spent an average of $2,576 less on teacher salaries than the low poverty schools within the same district (NCES, 2004). Teacher quality also differs based on school poverty level: for example, in the 2003 2004 school year, 9.1 percent of all teachers in Maryland were considered not highly qualified, while 20. 2 poverty schools were considered not highly Teachers are also much more likely to leave schools with higher poverty levels and higher concentrations of minorities (Scafi di, Sjoquist & Stinebrickner, 2007 ). Teacher turnover is 50 percent higher in high poverty than in low poverty schools (Ingersoll, 2001), and urban teachers are much more likely to leave or transfer than their suburb an counterparts (Hanushek, Kain & Rivkin 1999). Shields et al., (2001) estimated that inexperienced teachers in California are assigned almost exclusively to low income schools serving students of color. This lack of experience and preparation specifically for working with a high poverty popula pedagogy and in their non instructional interactions with their students. The literature suggests that the cultural divide between White teachers and Black students can directly affect teacher student relationships. Black students who have a hostile relationship with their teachers due to perceived racial discrimination may have lower levels of classroom engagement (Brow n, 2008; Smalls White, Chavous, & Sellers, 2007). Black students who do not find support from their tea chers due to this
30 cultural discontinuity, and especially those who are also acting as parents to their younger siblings or helping their parents out financially, are at increased risk of poor academic achievement, often attributed to absences or lack of fo cus when at school (Slaughter Defoe & Rubin, 2001). Some of the perceived discrimination could possibly come from the fact that many teachers are not aware that their style of instruction is heavily influenced by their own culture, which may run counter to erroneous assumptions about diverse youngsters, and with limited expectations for the ick & Zeichner, 1998, p. 89). These limited experiences Nieto, 1999; Webb Johnson, 2002 ). Students who are seen as different or whose intera ctions are different from those valued by the teacher are often seen as discipline problems. Discipline policies Students are more likely to drop out of high school if they feel disconnected from their school community, and Black boys are almost three tim es as likely as the general school age population to receive exclusionary forms of discipline leading to a sense of disconnection, such as suspension (Harry & Anderson, 1994; Townsend, 2000). Recently, the Montgomery County, Maryland school district found percent of suspensions for insubordination, a relatively rare offense in the county, were percent of their school population (St. George, 2011). This study contributes to over 30 years of research on racial and socioeconomic disparities in the use of out of school
31 suspension and expulsion (Skiba et al., 2011). In 2002, Black students were almost three times more likely than White students to be suspended (Wa ld & Losen, 2003), and in a more recent study in a Virginia middle school, Black students received five times as many suspensions as White students (Shirley & Cornell, 2012). This may be related to teacher quality as well, as Gregory and Weinstein (2008) found that Black high school students were more likely to be perceived as defiant and less cooperative by teachers whom they perceived as unfair or untrustworthy. In that study, referrals were collected from a period of over a year from an urban high schoo l and analyzed for their reasons of referral. Black students made up 30% of the school enrollment and 58% of the defiance referrals. In addition, 86% of the defiance referred Black students received defiance referrals from only one to three adults, which m eans that the quality of most Black students' interactions seemed to vary across different adults in school (Gregory & Weinstein, 2008). A related barrier is that Black students are more likely to have conflicts with their teachers than White students, es pecially when their teacher is of a different race or ethnicity (Hughes, Gleason, & Zhang, 2005; Saft & Pianta 2001). While minority groups are quickly becoming majority groups in public schools, the teacher workforce remains mostly White middle class wome n (Dewan, 2010; Banks, et al., 2005). This cultural divide can perpetuate a hostile teacher student relationship and may contribute to lower levels of classroom engagement (Brown, 2008; Smalls et al., 2007). With this unequal distribution of discipline o ccurring, many Black students begin to feel that school is not a safe place for them, and certainly not a supportive one. As school behavior issues can be a predictor for future criminal activity, it is not surprising
32 that the prison population also reflec ts this disparity: In 2003, Black youth were only sentenced to life without parol e as juveniles had also been suspended or expelled at some point in their academic career. Researchers suggest that if these discipline disparities were addressed and Black students began to feel more connected to their schools, they would be more likely t o have higher grades and test scores, have better school attendance, and stay in school longer (Klem & Connell, 2004). It is easy to see how descriptions of schools filled with Black students. This leads many to conflate the two factors, and to claim that poverty alone is to blame for the achievement gap. However, in a 2004 study sponsored by The College Board to investigate the connection between school effects and SAT scores, one of their key conclusion socioeconomic background, academic achievement, and extracurricular activities latent variables, the African American students both males and females continue to score lower on SAT V [Verbal] and SAT M [Math] than Millsap, 2004). In a study based on math achievement, Byrnes (2003) found that even in a majority White school with a middle to high SES population (79% White and 13% Black students), 26% of White students scored at or above t he 80 th percentile on the math NAEP, while only 7% of Black students did. These students came from similar SES backgrounds, and among those who did score at or above the 80 th percentile, both White and Black students reported having parents who graduated f rom college, positive perceptions of their own ability in math, and positive views of math in general.
33 As the literature examined above reveals, a student who is Black, attends a high poverty school, and whose parents did not earn a baccalaureate degree, is much less likely to attend or graduate from a four year college than a student who does not fit these descriptions (Mortenson, 1993; NCES, 2010; Radford, Berkner, Wheeless, & Shepherd, 2010; U.S. Department of Education, 1998). Therefore, students who f it those descriptors and are currently attending a four year college can be seen as resilient. Resilience The purpose of this research is to generate a theory to explain the resilience of first generation Black male college students from high poverty high schools who are currently attending a large, public, predominately White university in the southern United States. Students who succeed in the face of significant challenges are often said to be compassing positive p. 543). Resilience research examines structures that support student achievement through developing a thorough understanding of the success of students who have the failure of those who fall victim to the achievement gap (Gardynik & McDonald, 2005; Milstein & Henry, 2000). However, a clear explanation of how students can beat these odds, or of what the supportive factors are in developing that resilience, is still missing from a good portion of educational research. A focus on supportive factors, rather than characteristics of students identified as resilient reflects the current trends in resiliency
34 emphasis in resiliency research has shifted from identifying characteristics of children who are resilient to identifying pro cesses resilience literature was therefore reviewed using the following criteria for inclusion: (1) empirical studies that were published in a peer reviewed journal, agency report, or book with a strong description of methodology; (2) empirical studies and books that were published within the last 10 years; and (3) empirical studies and books that directly examined supportive factors found to explain the resilience of Black adolescent students from high poverty schools or low SES families. After searching multiple databases for studies that fit these criteria, I narrowed the field to 7 empirical studies and 1 literature review of empirical studies, which are outlined in the attached chart. Of those empirical studies, 4 used quantitative methods, 2 used qualitative methods, and 1 was a mixed methods study. The participants ranged in age from third grade to college undergraduates (the third grade students were part of a longitudinal study that also monitored those same st udents at the sixth grade level), but all had parents with household incomes below the poverty line, and each study focused specifically on Black students defined as resilient. Data sources across the studies included questionnaires, standardized achieveme nt scores, and interviews. From this literature, it appears that Black students who are resilient were scaffolded by supportive home relationships and supportive school relationships, both of which led to the individual characteristic of self efficacy. Su pportive home relationships were broken down into the categories of high parental monitoring/expectations and parental work history/work ethic. Supportive school relationships were broken down into
35 the categories of caring school personnel (other than teac hers) and positive teacher student relationships. Supportive Home Relationships For Black students, the literature suggested that significant support for academic achievement began in the home. These studies suggested that high parental monitoring and ex were among the most important supportive factors contributing to the resilience of low SES Black students. High parental monitoring and expectations Cunningham & Swanson (201 0) surveyed 206 Black high school students to determine factors that facilitate educational resilience. Among the factors of parental monitoring, perceived school support, academic self esteem, and future expectations, the factor of academic self was seen as most statistically significant, but the factor that contributed most clearly to developing that academic self esteem was high parental monitoring. High parental monitoring was indicated by po Support for the importance of parental monitoring comes from a study by Morales (2010) In his interview based phenomenol ogical study of 30 Black college undergraduates, Morales found two protective factor clusters worked in an interrelated fashion to mitigate the negative effects of risk factors and enable the development of resilience. The first cluster focused on the ment oring of school personnel; the second included the protective factors of high parental expectations supported by words and actions (reported by 80% of the participants) and the mother modeling a strong work
36 ethic (reported by 74% of the participants). Thes e high expectations did not describe the made about and the commitments made to their educational goals and ambitions, especially when students could see their parents followin g through on those commitments. Participants reported that parents made sacrifices such as getting them out of local, low achieving schools, which required financial and transportation sacrifices Wasonga, Christman, and Kilmer (2003 ) conducted a questionnaire based study of 480 ninth and twelfth grade students. They found that a model with two variables explained 53.3% of the variance predicting resilience for Black students: home meaningful participation and home high expectations. While peer relationships were actually negatively related to academic achievement for Black students, home high expectations were positively and significantly related to academic achievement. Parental work history and work ethic Cunningham and Swanson (2 010) found a positive correlation between the esteem, which the authors attributed to the development of a home environment where education is valued and is riences. This is particularly interesting considering that only 43.6% of the mothers in the study had completed high school or some college, possibly leading to the conclusion that parental education level may be less important than parental attitude towar d education and work ethic. Morales (2010) contributed to the resilience of 74% of the participants.
37 Conversely, having parents who expected their children to fulfill car etaker responsibilities actually created a barrier to academic achievement for the 31 female based phenomenological study. The caretaker expectations and responsibilities faced by 77% of the females in th at study forced them to either do more in order to fulfill those responsibilities as well as their academic requirements, or to withdraw emotionally from their family members by dismissing those caretaker responsibilities. The females in this study found t he support that they were lacking at home from caring school personnel at the K 12 and college level, another factor that scaffolds resilience. Supportive School Relationships While home relationships are certainly important in building the foundation fo r resilience, the literature suggests that school relationships can be just as important, and in some cases, can fill in the gap when students do not have a strong relationship with their family members. Two groups of school personnel who can provide that support are teachers and non instructional personnel like coaches or school club advisors. Caring school personnel In the above mentioned Morales (2008) study, the most significant protective factor in developing resilience for the 50 college undergraduat es was the presence of participants and helps guide them in a way that contributes significantly to their school personnel in the K 12 school years specifically were a protective factor for 90% of the participants. (2008) study, where he determined that having mentors of th e same gender was
38 significantly positive for males, and that in fact, 87% of the mentors for the male students were male as well. The gender of the mentor was not as significant for the female students in the study, who reported having both male and female mentors. In Peck whom were Black, they found that 83% of students who were characterized as having educationally vulnerable lifespace configurations (based on the presence of self reported personal and social risk factors), but were also engaged in school clubs and sports teams, went on to college, indicating that engagement in a school personnel led activity was a protective factor contributing to their resilience. They hypoth esized that these activities were characterized by mentorship in the area of positive social norms and opportunities for skill building (Eccles & Gootman, 2002, as cited in Peck et al., 2008). The school support described as an essential protective factor in devel oping resilience in Cunningham and club/sports coaches, administrators, or teachers, and they elaborated that school was seen as a haven for students undergoing stressful events outside school, esp ecially if they could see school as a place where they could develop and display competence. Positive teacher student relationships Borman and grade to sixth grade found that the resilience of low SES minority (defined as Black or Latino) students was more dependent on attending an effective school (where learning time is maximized, student learning is monitored, clear school goals are created and maintained, and principal leadership is strong) than was the resilience of low SES White students. Within that description of an effective school, positive teacher student relationships and a safe and orderly school environment were the two factors most
39 significantly related to academic resilience. Low SES Black students were much less likely to attend a school with these characteristics, however, than were low SES White students. Even for students who did not attend effective schools, having an individual positive relationship with a teacher has been demonstrated to make the difference in terms of a cademic achievement. In Boykin and based framework of research on the achievement gap, they reviewed empirical studies on practices implemented in an attempt to narrow the achieveme nt gap. One of the key findings in the studies that they reviewed wa s that teachers can support students in developing two methods of closing the achievement gap: adaptive learning postures (beliefs about academic tasks that will probably support academic achievement) and asset focused strategies (learning exchanges that build on student assets or skills instead of punishing learners for not knowing the material). One example of an adaptive learning posture is the development of self regulated learning skil ls such as goal setting, self monitoring, and self reinforcement. In one study they cited, Black low SES students who received explicit training in these skills increased reading achievement more than those who did not (Mason, 2004). Teachers also can prov ide supportive factors in developing student resilience through instruction on incremental ability beliefs, or the belief that ability is no t fixed, but malleable. Boykin and Noguera (2011) reported that in the studies they reviewed, students who believed that their academic performance was tied to fixed ability lost motivation over time in achievement settings, especially when faced with challenging tasks. Teachers therefore can convince students
40 of their own power to change their own perceived intelligenc e level, to transcend any perceived limitations, and to constantly improve, even in areas of perceived weakness. The positive teacher also enabled the development of the other protective factors in that cluster, including a literally and figuratively translating the academic langu age into words and ideas that the position to support their own communities. Individua l Characteristic s While qualitative studies do not attempt to determine causality, it is nonetheless a question for debate whether students develop resilience because they are naturally self efficacious, or whether resilient students are then nurtured in d eveloping a sense of self efficacy. Five of the seven studies investigated this debate. Self efficacy Boykin and Noguera define self accomplish a desired outcome in a given context if the requisite application of skill is put the achievement gap, they establish it as a key factor in supporting the development of resilience. They argue that self efficacy is even more important than the general concep t of self esteem. Borman and Overman (2004) found that the presence of self efficacy was a dist inguishing factor between resilient and non resilient students. As previously examined in Boykin and
41 adaptive learning postures in their review of the literature, teachers can play a role in helping students dev elop self efficacy. However, the literature reviewed here shows a connection between supportive home factors and supportive school factors and the development of sel f efficacy. Boykin and Noguera suggest in their review of the literature that students deri ve their self efficacy from encounters with key information This matches with the findings females in the study reported having specific post college goals along with a realization of how what they were currently doing academically would help them reach those goals. Work e thic enabled 74% of the participants to develop their own strong work ethic and by extension, their own sense of self efficacy. Though the factors of work ethic, persistence, and interna l locus of control were strong predictors of resilience predictors. One participant, Richard, described this perception in his story about his My parents never complained to me about the tuition, but I knew it was an issue for them each month. They would always be discussing ways to make ends m eet, and talking about how many hours my mom should work worried so much about making certain to make the tuition payments. (p. 170).
42 contributed significantly to the development of self efficacy for many students in that rom her job as a comfort and hospitality associate fancy name for a hotel maid she would start cleaning the house. Could you imagine that? Doing a sh job all day, then doing it more when you got t a roadblock and start ( Morales, 2010, parental expectations contributed to a development of resilience and of self efficacy, as academic abilities. Conclusions The review of the literature has demonstrated that there are significant barriers to academic success for Black students, especially those from a high poverty school whose parents did not obtain a baccalaureate degree, thereby defining their attendance at a four year college as an act of resi lience. Within the literature on resilience, the presence of the following supportive factors was identified as crucial: supportive home relationships, in the categories of high parental monitoring/expectations and parental work history/work ethic, and supportive school relationships, in the categories of caring school personnel (other than teachers) and positive teacher student relationships. Both of these factors led to the development of the crucial individual characteristic of self efficacy. While the resilience literature was reviewed extensively for this study, it is import ant to note that the literature is not extensive and that most of these studies draw
43 on national secondary data sets, rather than primary data. These studies (Borman & Overman, 2004; Cunningham & Swanson, 2010; Peck, et al., 2008; Wasonga, et al., 2003) re ly on surveys and self report data, which makes it more difficult to ascertain which factors are most significant and what other extenuating factors may be impacting the results. Only two studies reviewed used qualitative methods and student interviews as data (Morales, 2008; Morales, 2010). The remaining source reviewed empirical studies on practices related to narrowing the achievement gap (Boykin & Noguera, 2011). While this was an extensive and rigorous review that focused on the concept of resilience a s it related to the achievement gap, its main focus was not to isolate the supportive factors in developing resilience, which limit ed its utility related to this investigation Another limitation of this body of literature is the isolation of major prote ctive factors in the lives of resilient individuals. This tendency to simply isolate and identify individual characteristics in the development of resilience as independent variables limits the scope and applicability of this type of research, although it is one of the most commonly used formats in the resilience literature (Gardynik & McDonald, 2005; Garmenzy, 1991; Gordan, 1995; Von Seker, 2004). Supportive factors do not operate in isolation, and their interaction can be much more powerful if studied as such (Luthar, Doernberger, & Zigler, 1993). Only one study, however, focused on the interaction of key protective factors in developing resilience (Morales, 2010). The combinations and specific arrangements of protective factors that enhance resilience are much more salient, as it is this combination that is much more likely to support an at risk student in developing resilience (Morales & Trotman, 2004). There is a clear need therefore for
44 qualitative resilience studies that allow participants to share the ir stories in greater depth and for theory that originates from those stories, focusing not on categorizing isolated resilience factors, but instead on the mechanisms by which the relationship of these supportive factors is central to keeping vulnerable yo uth on track educationally (Peck, et al., 2008). The goal of examining this body of literature has been to provide a detailed look at both what the barriers to success may be and how resilient Black students may overcome those barriers. However, as others have made clear, there is more work to be precision impinges on our ability to interpret accurately how and why Black students fare in school as they do and to develop po licy that will ameliorate racial gaps in 2007, p. 541). This body of literature is significant in that it identifies a few possible explanations for the achievement gap, and ways to counteract it, but the voices of those students who have defied that achievement gap are crucial in further research on how to support resilience for all Black students.
45 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction Black students in the United States are more likely to struggle with re ading comprehension (U.S. Department of Education, 2010), are more likely to grow up in families living in poverty who have n o post secondary education (National Center for Education Statistics 2010; Tavernise, 2011; Taylor, Fry, & Kochhar, 2011; Terenzin i, Springer, Yaeger, Pascarella, & Nora, 1996), and are more likely to receive exclusionary forms of school discipline (Harry & Anderson, 1994; Klem & Connell, 2004; St. George, 2011; Townsend, 2000). All of these factors negatively impact academic success yet some students succeed despite these factors. Students who succeed Luthar, Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000; Taylor, 2010; Wang & Gordon, 1994). This study focused on exami ning how a specific group of resilient Black male students became successful as demonstrated by graduating from a high poverty high school and being the first in their family to attend a highly competitive, four year university. Learning more about the fac tors these students believe supported them in getting ready for and into college provide s a framework with the potential to help us understand how to support other Black students in developing resilience. This study drew on data from interviews with college undergraduates to generate a theory describing the resilience of first generation Black male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools and were attending a large, public, predominately White univers ity in the southern United States. In order to thoroughly describe the factors that the students identify as important in scaffolding their motivation
46 and success, the study utilized qualitative methodology to highlight the voices of the participants. Thi s study is a good fit for the assumptions of qualitative research, such as & Clark 2007, p. 45). Th e study used the qualitative methodology of grounded theory, which is used to create a substantive theory when current theories are inadequate or nonexistent (Creswell & Clark 2007 ). An interview based method was appropriate as the majority of current stu dies on the resilience of Black students are based on quantitative data such as surveys, which limit participants to a constrained set of statements that may or may not accurately reflect their realities. This study was grounded in the voices of the partic ipants and provided insight into the many layers of this issue. The theoretical conceptualization that results from the analysis of the interview data in this study reveal ed patterns of action and interaction between and among various types of social unit s, [as well as] reciprocal changes in patterns of action/interaction and in relationship Corbin, 1994, p. 278). This chapter presents a detailed description of resear ch methods utilized in this study, including research questions, the theoretical framework, the setting for the research, and details about the participants and their selection. I then provide details on the data collection and data analysis methods used, as well as a discussion of the trustworthiness of this study.
47 Research Questions The purpose of this research was to generate a theory describing the resilience of first generation Black male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools a nd were attending a large, public, PWI in the southern United States. One question emerged from that purpose: What theory explains the resilience of first generation Black male college students from high poverty high schools? Theoretical Framework This stu dy wa s organized through the theoretical framework of social constructivism. The theoretical perspective of constructivism wa s a good fit for this study as it assumes that reality cannot be independent of the observers involved and instead describes indivi dual human subjects engaging with objects in the world and making sense of them (Crotty, 1998). Our reality is often influenced by the groups to which we belong, either culturally or locally, and by the power structure under which we live. Therefore, I use d This is not to be confused with a social constructio nist framework, which focuses on how meanings are created through the social interactions of a group during the study itself. S ocial constructivism focuses on an individual's identity and how it is impacted by roups (Creswell & Clark 2007). Crotty (1998) focusing exclusively on the meaning leading the researcher to look for the complexity of views rather than narrow the meanings into a
48 & Clark imprinted on individuals but are formed through interaction with othe rs and through Grounded theory wa s a logical choice for this paradigm as it links knowledge closely with time and place. This theory eschew [s] claims to idealistic versions of kno rauss & Corbin, 1994, p. 276). In this study, I do not seek a listing of helping all Black students develop resilience. The purpose of the theory generated fr om these specific participants wa plausible relationships proposed among concepts and sets of concepts In this case, the relationships of interest are among the factors that supported first generation, Black male college students from high poverty high schools in developing resilience. The constant comparative method of recursive ana lysis and data collection allowed for a deeper understanding of just how that process wa s experienced by these students (Strauss & Corbin, 1994). Participant Selection First Generation College Students Census research suggests that family income level (Mortenson, 1993; Ottinger, 1991) and parental education (U.S. Department of Education, 1998) are positively correlated with educational success. First generation coll ege students are more likely to co me from low income families and, by definition, to have parents who either never attended college or who did not graduate from a four year college. Because of these characteristics educational success at the secondary level, let alone at the post secondary level, can be a struggle. For example, students whose parents earned a
49 year university than stu dents whose parents never went to college (Radford, et al., 2010). For the purposes of this study, I define d a first generation college student as one whose parents or guardians did not earn a baccalaureate degree (Choy, 2001). Most research in this area h as focused only on first generation college students as a group, not non White first generation students specifically. This is an important area, however, as non White first difficulti 2004, p. 250). For example, the graduation rate for white students starting at four year institutions is 62.6 percent, compared to 40.5 percent for Black students and 41.5 percent for Hispanic students. These students are often less prepared for college due to poor secondary academic preparation, especially in the development of independ ent, critical thinking skills from high school (Terenzini, Springer, Yaeger, Pascarella, & Nora, 1996). They also tend to work more hours while in college, increasing the time it takes to complete their degrees (Zalaquett, 1999). Black First Generation Col lege Students from High Poverty High Schools This study focus ed specifically on Black male first generation college students who graduated from high poverty high schools and were attending a PWI. It is important to note that the academic experience of Blac k students can differ greatly from that of majority White students in PWIs, even if both are classified as first generation college students (Allen, 1999; Gloria, Robinson Kurpius, Hamilton, & Willson, 1999; Rendon, Jalomo, & Nora, 2000).
50 Since I am specif ically interested in the perspectives of students who can be rom a high poverty high school wa s important. The chances of graduating from high school, let alone attending college, are much lowe r for those who attend a high school where more than 75% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. On average, 68 percent of 12th grade students in high poverty high schools graduated with a diploma in 2007 2008, compared to 91 percent at low poverty schools. In the 1999 2000 school year, the number of graduating seniors from high poverty high schools was 86 percent, so the chances of graduating from one of these schools has actually dropped over the last 8 years, and only 28 percent of those graduatin g seniors subsequently enrolled in a four year institution (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). As these figures make clear, Black first generation college students, who graduated from high poverty high schools, and we re attending a highly competitive P WI, can certainly be defined as resilient. By exploring their perspectives on their own resilience, I discover ed more ways to narrow the achievement gap. School Setting The school where this research took place wa s a large, publ ic, research university, w hich wa s a PWI. Admissions we re very competitive, as more than 90 percent of incoming freshmen score d above the national average on standardized exams, and the average incoming freshman GPA wa s above a 4.0. The Fall 2011 entering class was less than 15% Bl ack. Despite the comparatively small population of Black students, the university ranked near the top among Association of American Universities (an organization comprising the top 61 public and private research
51 universities in North America) public univer students in 2008 09. The demographic data for this university is not representative of the sample for this study, and this is deliberate. The students who took part in this study were in the minority: that is, they were students who were able to enter into and succeed i n an academic environment that wa s off limits for most of their peers. I hope d to illuminate their secrets of success, as it were: who or what supported them in their achievements as members of a group significantly under represented in institutions of this type? Sample Selection The participants in this study were six Black first generation male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools in Florida and who were currently attending a large, public, highly selective PWI in the southern United States. Their ages ranged from 18 to 22. Purposeful sampling was used to yield a participant pool able to provide information rich cases for in depth understanding (Creswell & Clark, 2007; Patton, 2001). The participants were nominated by representatives from two scholarship programs that support Black students from high pover ty high schools, as well as recruited from campus Black student organizations. This method of the targeted community, enables the researcher to gain an understanding of that community by allowing these groups to suggest students who might be a good fit for the study, or for students within those groups to nominate themselves (Foster, 1997). The scholarship program coordinators nominated three students based on the criter ia of identifying as a Black male first generation college student who graduated from a high poverty high school in Florida, and four students self nominated after receiving a
52 recruitment email. One student ultimately dropped out of the study after signing the informed consent form but before scheduling an interview due to family issues, leaving six total participants. Each of the students attended a high poverty high school in Florida, and five of the six participants attended high school in urban areas. Data Collection and Analysis The data collection process is difficult, if not impossible, to separate from the data analysis process in traditional grounded theory, due to the importance of the constant comparative process that is central to the tenets of grounded theory. The constant comparative method is a way of generating and suggesting many properties about a specific phenomenon, including causes, conditions, and consequences, while in the process of collecting and analyzing data (Glaser, 1965). The co nstant comparative method consists of four stages: (1) comparing incidents applicable to each theme that emerges from the data; (2) integrating themes and their properties; (3) delimiting the theory; and (4) writing the theory (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). D uring constant previously coded text is checked to see whether newly created codes are relevant for developing and refining theoretical 2008, p. 139). Keeping that in mind, most grounded theory studies f ollow the following steps: The researcher recruits multiple individuals who have participated in the process about the central phenomenon. The researcher identifies a homogeneous, theory based purposeful sample with criteria for inclusion. This initial s ample allows for detailed descriptions of a range (Charmaz, 2006). The researcher attempts to establish rapport with participants before asking for informed consent.
53 The researcher interviews at least 10 people for maximum detail. However, the initial sample may include as few as 4 people. Data sources include interviews and researcher memo writi ng (writing down ideas about the evolving theory throughout the process of coding). Memo writing is considered data as it can take the form of preliminary propositions or ideas ana & Clark 2007). (Memo writing is explained in more depth in the following coding section.) Data collection and analysis happen simultaneously in grounded theory. This allows the researcher to constantly be in contact with the participants them to shape not just the final product of the theory, but also the direction of the data collection itself. By allowing analysis to inform the data collection process, verification of the resulting theory is done throughout the research verification is possible only through follow 1994, p. 274). Interviews The main form of dat a collection for this study was semi structured individual interviews. While quali beliefs and perspectives, I acknowledge that interviews are not merely neutral tools; in them, data are based on personal interactions (Fontana & Frey, 2000; Silverman, 2000, 2006). Inter my participants may have been more likely to respond in ways they deem ed socially desirable or may have guard ed their responses due to the cross cultural nature of a White researcher asking questions of a Black student (Yin, 2009).
54 Gubrium and Holstein (2003) suggest that "Interviewing nonwhite subjects may require a researcher to conduct extensive ethnographic fieldwork, both before and during the interview process, [centering] on how the lived experiences of the members of the particular subj ect category under consideration can inform participants' conversation in the interview situation" ( p. 133). With that mind, I took steps to provide my participants wi th ways to know me before I bega n the interview process, including visiting campus groups that provide support to students matching the criteria of my data sample. work (1998) and involved the following steps: (1) conducting in person individual interview s with each of the six participants, focusing on one open sure you can think of many other students from your neighborhood or high school who open coding on the transcripts in order to create tentative themes (based on factors emerging from the data such as the importance of teachers who challenged them and family members who were strict in their discipline) and to create future interview questions based on those codes; (3) conducting a second round of interviews focused on probing those codes and themes in greater depth; (4) using open coding on those transcripts to create themes; and (5) creating comparisons and sorting codes and themes until categ ories emerged (See Appendix 1 for a list of codes and categories). I conducted two interviews with each participant, for a total of 12 interviews, with an average interview length of 45 minutes, generating a total of 176 double spaced pages of transcribed interview data. Each interview was audio recorded and transcribed
55 verbatim. Those transcripts were then coded using the process described above, using coding, constant comparison, memoing, and memo sorting. The open coding process, also called initial cod ing, was used to develop categories of information about the phenomenon, along with subcategories or themes (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Open 1965). Initial coding involve d naming words, lines, and segments of data. This was followed by f ocused coding, in which the most significant and frequent codes from the initial coding were compared to each other. Data were compared across participants with a constant search for simila rities and differences. Through repeated comparison and sorting, categories emerged. The final step in the process was theoretical coding in which the codes were integrated into an analytical framework or story (Charmaz, 2006; Glaser, 1978, 1998; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Coding Though the process of coding occurs simultaneously with collection, it is important to explain the different types of coding used in grounded theory. Charmaz (2006) explains that through coding, grounded theory researchers attempt t o create an is done through two types of coding: open and axial. Open coding, also called initial coding, is used to develop categories of information about the ph enomenon, along with properties or subcategories (Creswell & Clark breath, the pain was
56 data, looking for s part of the data, or one view among many. This should help to create an analytic processes and st Axial coding is then used to identify one open coding category to focus on: the The following questions are then asked about the core phenomenon: What was central to this process? What influence d or caused this phenomenon to occur? What strategies were employed during this process? What effect occurred? This step in the coding involves using the most significant and/or frequent earlier codes to assemble the data in new ways, possibly using a visu al model. While open coding may be performed word by word or line by line, axial coding allows the researcher to analyze large chunks of data. Using the example given in the open coding section, those codes could be combined with others to create the axial codes 2006). These categories can then be expanded with sub categories and linked with other categories in order to produce a model that brings the codes together as a whole. Memo writing took place throughout the coding process, as it forced the researcher to analyze the data and codes early in the research process. Memos should raw
57 theoret ical statement and possibly identify gaps in the research (p. 84). Trustworthiness Though qualitative studies acknowledge that no researcher can truly be detached from the study, it is my responsibility to document my process along the way to increase its as transferability, dependability, and confirmability replace positivist criteria of internal confirm my analysis is connected to the very process of analysis itself, especially as I consider the ethical issues of reciprocity (What will my participants gain from my study? How will I establish supportive relationships with my participants?) and dependabili ty (How will I use labels that my participants would use to reflect their voices?). I used the following strategies gathered from the qualitative research literature as part of the research methodology to improve the trustworthiness of this study (Bogden and Biklen, 2007, Glesne, 1999, and Hatch, 2002). Through my involvement with the previously me ntioned campus groups, I develop ed a relationship with my participants prior to interviewing them. W ithin the data analysis, I employ ed member checking and peer review and debriefing in order to build trustwort hiness (Creswell & Clark 2007). I share d my interview transcripts and ongoing analysis with my participants. This is researche (Eder & Fi ngerson, 2003, p. 37). I ask ed them questions about themes that aro se from the data and my interpr etations of their words. I also took the transcripts of the first round of interviews, as well as my preliminary open coding analysis and tentative future interview questions, to a meeting
58 with a Black female doctoral student who grew up in an urban area. She provided feedback from a perspective that I do not have. I als o attempted to decentralize my power through shared, collaborative data analysis with participants. The collaborative data analysis consisted of individual member checking of transcripts and a group dialogue with 5 of the 6 participants around the themes t hat I saw emerging from their stories. During this collaborative process, the participants both confirmed and elaborated on my interpretations. I feel that it is crucially important in a study in which the researcher is White and the researched are Black, that my interpretations not be the from those who are part of that cultural group. T wo final strategies that I employ ed we re the use of conceptual density and the c larification of my own bias as the researcher through the use of memoing. Conceptual density is defined as a strong familiarity with the data, wherein concept development and relationships are constantly and systematically checked out against the data, wit h an emphasis on conceptualization rather than just description (Strauss & Corbin, 1994). This conceptualization came from my personal experiences with my participants and help ed I also continually reflected on my own bias and subjectivity through the use of a reflective journal and conceptual memos throughout the research process. Grounded theory specifically suggests that the constant making of comparisons, creation of generative and concept related questions, theoretical sampling, and systematic coding procedures all enhance the trustworthiness of a study (Strauss & Corbin, 1994). Using these methods should protect the researcher from accepting any
59 It should force the Corbin, 1994, p. 280). Subjectivity Statement As a former secondary English teacher, who spent three years in the public school classroom, as well as a current college instructor, teaching a course on the social foundations of education, I bring my own knowledge of curriculum, s ocial justice, and pedagogy to this study. My journey to the doctorate degree started when I was teaching 10 th grade English. One day, I had a powerful interaction with one of my front of the class. One of my White students had said something mildly disrespectful to me, and se. I motioned to the hallway, and she followed me, dragging her feet and refusing to look me in the eye. e looked up at me in disbelief. that, and the White kids get away with it, an That conversation crystallized one of my nagging suspicions: race was still st all Black students, many smarter than their honors counterparts. When I suggested that one of my
60 standard students, an intelligent and creative young Black man, should move up to How does this happen? The teachers that I worked with were good teachers. Our school ranked among the top schools in the nation each year I was there. The teachers really cared about their students, but there remain ed an apparent difference between the way Black and White students were treated, academically and socially. While I hated leaving my students to come back to school full time, I knew that I needed to learn more if I truly wanted to investigate this phenome non and to discover what my part could be in changing it. Now, toward the end of my doctoral program, my possible role in changing the status quo is becoming clearer. My future career as a teacher educator will fulfill me only to the extent that I am able to work toward closing the achievement gap between Black and White students, to support teachers in examining their own culturally based beliefs and how those impact their instruction and their relationships with students, and to bring to light the hidden ways in which we continue to discriminate against Black students. My role as a researcher in this study is informed by these experiences, by my own identity as a White, middle class female, and by the inequities in the public school system that I have exp erienced through study and personal experiences. I have committed myself to work toward addressing and combating these injustices, and I bring this dedication to this study.
61 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS In an article style dissertation, the findings of the study are organized within the findings chapter in the form of journal articles. Prior to the first article, I will provide participant descriptions, an explanation of the data analysis process, and a b rief description of each article. Participant Descriptions The participants in this study were six Black first generation male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools in Florida and who were attending a large, public, highly selectiv e, predominantly White institution (PWI) in the southern United States. Their ages ranged from 18 to 22. Each of the students attended a high poverty high school in Florida, and five of the six participants attended high school in urban areas. Their assign ed pseudonyms were Felipe, John, Trey, Ryan, George, and Marcus. I will describe their background, as well as a few of the key factors they described as supporting their resilience. Felipe Felipe, in his first year of college during the interview process, graduated from an urban high school in the Jacksonville area. He grew up with both parents until his mother died while he was in high school. His father, who grew up in the Florida Panhandle, joined the military after being drafted during the Vietnam War and never family on his own, and they faced the possibility of foreclosure on their home. Felipe cited his teachers and administrators as a crucial support for him du ring this difficult time period.
62 John John, also in his first year of college during the interview process, graduated from an urban high school in the Miami Dade area and identified as biracial. He grew up with both parents until they divorced when he was nine years old. John cited his father, a Black man who grew up in New York City and joined the military as a young man, as a strong support for him both before and after the divorce. His mother grew up in Nicaragua, and he identified her drive for educati on as another important factor in the support of his resilience. Unlike his father, his mother did attend some college but was unable to financially support herself in order to complete her degree. Trey Trey, in his second year of college during the inte rview process, graduated from an urban high school in the Miami Dade area. He grew up in a matriarchal family composed of his grandmother, his mother, and his aunt. His grandmother gave birth to his mother when she was 14 years old, and his mother gave bir th to his oldest brother at the age of 18. Neither was able to attain a college degree, and in fact, his grandmother stopped attending school after eighth grade. Trey described the financial security that he experienced growing up in a house where each adu lt worked full time, despite a lack of formal education. However, Trey described that he learned from his derived support for his academic success from their belief in him and from their desire for him to have a better life than they did. Ryan Ryan, in his second year of college during the interview process, graduated from an urban high school in the Miami Dade area. He grew up with Haitian immigrant
63 parents, whom he descri bed as being stricter than the parents of anyone else he knew. His parents, who did not complete a high school education, were strong supporters of the power of education to provide opportunities for their children, and they had high expectations that each of their children would graduate from college. He described those high expectations, as well as the support and role models provided by his older siblings, as key factors in the development of his resilience. George George, who was preparing to graduate from college during the interview process, graduated from an urban high school in the Orlando area. He also grew up with Haitian immigrant parents, and he was the only person in his family (including his two brothers) who was born in the United States. He described the strict discipline of his parents as one of the key factors that contributed to his resilience, as well as the personal relationships that he developed with his teachers. In particular, he mentioned teachers who were honest with him about the challenges that he faced as a Black male growing up in a poor area and enabled him to face those challenges and overcome them. Marcus Marcus, who was also preparing to graduate from college during the interview process, graduated from a rural high school in the Lake Okeechobee area. Until high school he was raised by his mother, who had a high school education and grew up in the same area that he did. His mother, who worked at a daycare, moved away when he was in high school, but he remained in the area t o finish high school and lived with his aunt. He described the importance of the support provided by his administrators and his
64 mentor through the Take Stock in Children program in providing assistance to him during that time. Data Analysis Process In a g rounded theory study, interviews and analysis take place in rounds. The first round of interviews was transcribed and coded. Codes were gerund based and focused on addressing the research question. Examples of initial coding after that round included: bein g part of Take Stock in Children (a mentoring program), having parents with strict discipline, having parents who valued education, having a challenging teacher, developing a personal relationship with your teacher, and having an administrator or teacher w ho supported you. Those codes were connected to each individual interview and used to create individualized probing questions for the second said that being tracked into advanced classes was one factor that supported you and kind of support you received in a dvanced classes and how it was different than what During the second round of interviews, I also asked questions based on factors that were brought up in the first interview by certain participants, but not others. For ins issues, such as racism, with his teachers. For those participants whose first round of l having a teacher who was real with them, who could discuss issues with them such as
65 the challenges faced by Black men in particular. Describe how your teachers addressed is After the second round of interviews, constant comparison was used. Initial codes and their accompanying data were reread, compared with one another, and used to form a common, theoretical code, called a focused cod e. Similar codes were grouped together under these focused codes. For example, the following codes were grouped teacher, being tracked into an advanced class, and having an a dministrator or teacher who supported you. The focused code gave a broader view of the process being described and led to memo writing. Ongoing memo writing throughout the analysis process facilitated the creation of theoretical categories and allowed for the creation of comparisons between data and data, data and codes, codes of data and other codes, codes and category, and category and concept and for making inferences about these comparisons (Charmaz, 2006). The memos also described the processes repres ented by the focused codes and tentatively The focused codes then became emergent categories as codes were further combined, revised, or expanded during the constant comparative analysis. In the example above, In short, the interviews were coded first with initial codes describing the data. The second round of interviews was then created based on those initial codes and then coded using the same initial codes. Both rounds of interviews were then coded with the more theoretical, focused codes. During this process, the memoing and creation of the
66 emergent categories deepened the description of eac h category. A theory that could contribute to an explanation of the resilience of first generation Black male college students from high poverty high schools began to emerge. It was based on three categories of support: family support, school support, and external support. Not everything fit into the emergent theoretical categories, however. One set of coded as possible outcomes related to different support systems. It include d codes such as: having spiritual faith. In other words, a participant could have developed leadership skills due to his participation in a community mentoring program o r due to his family responsibilities, such as taking care of his younger siblings. In the first instance, that chool, and external) were then examined through the lens of the hardiness framework described in the first article, in order to more fully examine the interaction among the types of support experienced by the participants through their relationships. A gra phic was then created to display the dynamic interactions among these relationships (Appendix D). Article Descriptions For these participants, the development of resilience was supported at every stage of their lives by their relationships. Findings indic ated that as previously suggested by the literature, family and school relationships were crucial in providing much needed support. However, external support was also identified as a key factor in this study, specifically in form of community mentoring gro ups and religious organizations. All three of these relationship types contributed to the development of
67 self efficacy, previously identified as a key element of resilience. (See Appendix C for a description of each type of support.) The findings from this study are presented in this chapter as three distinct articles. These articles were written with different audiences in mind to address the different facets of this study. The first article was written for a top tier research journal such as Urban Educati on to examine the theory as a whole. The second article was written for a peer reviewed research journal that focuses on the education of marginalized populations to examine the interaction between the relationships of the participants with their parents a nd their relationships with their teachers. The third article was written for a practitioner focused journal to examine how school personnel, such as teachers and administrators, can support the resilience of their students. This article will be published in the September 2013 issue of Educational Leadership A brief summary of the findings from the study, as presented in three articles, is provided here. overview and examination of the theory created from the findings. It examines the factors that scaffolded the resilience of the participants with the goal of creating a grounded theory of resilience for Black male students from high poverty schools. The three categories of protec tive factors identified by the participants (family support, school support, and external support) are organized in a framework of hardiness (a psychological term similar to resilience). This framework is composed of three attitudes of hardiness: commitmen t (wanting to be involved with others rather than isolated), to learn from all experiences, rather than avoiding risk). The resilience of the
68 participants was enabled by their interactive relationships with and among family members, school personnel, and community members. The findings from this study suggest that these students were supported by a network of relationships and that their interactions created a web that li fted them up and enabled them to become resilient. examines the interaction of two elements of the three types of support experienced by the participants: family support and sc hool support. It specifically examines how the definition of parental involvement described by the participants expands on the traditional definition of parental involvement held by many teachers (volunteering at the school, attending teacher parent confer ences, etc.). Parental involvement was described as crucial to the statistically exceptional academic achievement of the based ways: instilling the values of education and hard work, setting high expectations, and enforcing strict discipline. element of the three types of support experienced by the participants: school support. The participants described the importance of having a personal relationship with a te acher who recognized their abilities and challenged them. They listed being in an honors or advanced class as a supportive factor that provided them with high quality, personally invested teachers. Those teachers, along with supportive school administrator Finally, in chapter Five, I examine the substantive theory developed from the findings, connect it to the literature explored in Chapter Two, and present implications
69 for researchers, teacher educators and practicing educators. Although the first two articles examine implications separately, a concluding examination of the overall themes and implications of the study is provided in the final chapter.
70 Article 1 : The Dynamic Interacti on of Relationships schools. Varied factors such as race, poverty, and access to high quality teachers and schools contribute to these disparities (Aud, Fox, & KewalRamani, 2010; L adson Billings, 2000; National Cent er for Education Statistics, 201 2; Osbome & Walker, 2006). Researchers have devoted particular attention to issues of race in examining why identifying as Black can be a risk factor connected to low academic performance ( Darling Hammond, 2010; Nieto, 1999; Skiba, Homer, Chung, Rausch, May, & Tobin, 2011; Warikoo & Carter, 2009). These risk factors facing many Black students include the increased probability that Black students will live in poor neighborhoods, be exposed to community violence and racism, and attend schools with fewer resources, more poorly qualified teachers, and higher concentrations of minorities than those attended by White students from similar socio economic backgrounds (Aud, et al., 2010; Berliner, 200 6; Boykin & Noguera, 2011; Everson & Millsap, 2004; Hollins, King, & Hayman, 1994; Hughes, Stenhjem, & Newkirk, 2007; Jencks & Phillips, 1998; King, 2005; Clewell, Puma, & McKay, 2001; Tavernise, 2011). Black males face increased risk related to the likel ihood that they will be placed in special education without an accurate diagnosis, retained, suspended, or expelled (Davis, 2003; Chavous, Rivas Drake, Smalls, Griffin, & Cogburn, 2008; Howard, 2003; Ladson Billings, 2000; Levin, 2008; Monroe, 2005; Noguer a, 2009). The achievement gap is clearly reflected in high school graduation rates as well. In 2008, less than half (47 percent) of all Black male high school students graduated in four years from U.S. high schools, compared to 78 percent of White male stu dents (Holzman, 2010).
71 Yet risk factors do not determine academic outcomes. Those who achieve success despite the presence of adversity are considered to possess resilience, a term Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000, p. 543). Resilience research in the area of academic achievement examines high educational achievement in the presence of risk factors that us ually contribute to low academic performance (Benard, 1991; Garmenzy, 1991; Morales & Trotman, 2004). This study examines the factors that scaffold resilience through an examination of the perspectives of a small group of Black, male college students, who despite the presence of additional risk factors such as living in poverty and being the first in their families to attend a four year university have demonstrated exceptional academic success. One of the purposes of resilience research is to enhance under standing of the resilience process in order to increase the resilience of other at risk students. In order to accomplish this, many researchers have specifically examined racial subpopulations in order to identify their differences and similarities in deve loping resilience (e.g. Ford, 1996; Gandara, 1995; Gardynik and McDonald, 2005; Gibson, 1996; Milstein & Henry, 2000; Morales, 2000; Myers & Taylor, 1998). In examining racial differences in resilience, researchers have found that resilient Black students reported having supportive relationships with teachers, parents, or other mentors, and having a sense of self efficacy, which is identified as a crucial factor in developing resilience (Borman & Overman, 2004; Cunningham & Swanson, 2010; Morales, 2008; Mor ales, 2010; Peck, et al., 2008; Wasonga, Christman, & Kilmer, 2003). How do Black students develop the
72 characteristic of self efficacy, however? How do they experience the support of their parents, teachers, or mentors? There are still a limited number of studies that examine how the dynamic interaction of relationships specifically supports the development of the resilience of Black students from high poverty neighborhoods, and even fewer studies on the resilience of Black males specifically. In addition, most resilience studies are based on surveys and quantitative data, which do not capture the specific stories of these students. A focus on supportive factors and on processes that promote resiliency, rather than the individual characteristics of resilien t students, reflects the current trends in resiliency research (Davey, Eaker & Walters, 2003). There is a clear need for qualitative resilience studies that allow participants to share their stories in greater depth and for theory that originates from thos e stories, focusing on the mechanisms by which the interactions among these supportive factors keep vulnerable youth on track educationally (Peck, Roeser, Zarrett, & Eccles 2008). The purpose of this research was to generate a theory describing the resil ience of first generation Black male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools and were attending a large, public, predominantly White university in the southern United States. In creating a framework for understanding the support syste ms identified by the participants as crucial to the development of their resilience, I came across a similar area of research in the field of psychology and stress management. Within stress management research, factors that negate the effects of stress are otherwise succumb to depression or anxiety to overcome challenges with positive
73 1992; Ma ddi, 2002). Just as resilience is connected to the presence of caring relationships and a high sense of self efficacy, hardiness develops in those who are encouraged by their supportive relationships to turn adversity into opportunity and especially in tho se who experience the success of bringing their ideas to fruition control, and challenge), a framework developed by Maddi (2002) to examine this process, is used here to examine how the supportive relationships experienced by the participants in this study nurtured them in the characteristics of hardiness and resilience. The findings presented in this article are based on original research involving six first generation B lack male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools and who were attending a large, public, predominantly White university in the southern United States. Method I used qualitative methods, guided by a grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2006; Glaser, 1965; Glaser & Strauss, 1967), to investigate the resilience of six first generation Black male college students. Most prior resilience studies are based on surveys and quantitative data; therefore, qualitative methods were used in the curre nt that might be less visible in large scale studies (Mishna, Saini, & Solomon, 2009). Participants The participants in this study were six Black first generation male co llege students who graduated from high poverty high schools in Florida and who were
74 currently attending a large, public, highly selective, predominantly White institution (PWI) in the southern United States. Their ages ranged from 18 to 22. Purposeful samp ling was used to yield a participant pool able to provide information rich cases for in depth understanding (Creswell & Clark, 2007; Patton, 2002). The participants were nominated by representatives from two scholarship programs that support Black students from high poverty high schools, as well as recruited from campus Black recruited through direct contact with the targeted community, enables the researcher to gain an understanding of that community by allowing these groups to suggest students who might be a good fit for the study, or for students within those groups to nominate themselves (Foster, 1992). The scholarship program coordinators nominated three students bas ed on the criteria of identifying as a Black male first generation college student who graduated from a high poverty high school in Florida, and four students self nominated after receiving a recruitment email. One student ultimately dropped out of the stu dy after signing the informed consent form but before scheduling an interview due to family issues, leaving six total participants. Each of the students attended a high poverty high school in Florida, and five of the six participants attended high school i n urban areas. Theoretical framework This study was informed by the theoretical framework of social constructivism, which assumes that reality cannot be independent of the observers involved and instead describes individual human subjects engaging with ob jects in the world and making sense of them (Crotty, 1998). As the purpose of this study was to generate a theory grounded in the reality of the participants and in their experience of developing
75 resilience, this framework allowed me to examine the meaning making of the r reality is often influenced by the groups to which we belong, either culturally or locally, and by the power structure under which we live. Consistent with this theoretical framework, the data were composed entirely of individual interviews. The first in terview was composed ere crucial to the process of creating a theory of resilience based on their experiences. The grounded theory generated in this study is built on socially constructed data ular context. As a White researcher working within a cross cultural context and within the constructivist grounded theory tradition, I assumed that neither data nor theories are discovered, but instead are co constructed by the researcher through interacti ons with participants (Charmaz, 2006). In evaluating the trustworthiness of the study therefore, I recognized that as a White, privileged, middle class female, who attended suburban private schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, I came from an etic, or outsider, perspective to examine the experiences of my participants: Black male first generation college students who graduated from high poverty high schools. To address this, I took the transcripts of the first round of interviews, as well as my prel iminary open coding analysis and tentative future interview questions, to a meeting with a Black female
76 doctoral student who grew up in an urban area. She provided feedback from a perspective that I do not have. I also attempted to decentralize my power th rough shared, collaborative data analysis with participants. The collaborative data analysis consisted of individual member checking of transcripts and a group dialogue around the themes that I saw emerging from their stories. During this collaborative pro cess, the participants both confirmed and elaborated on my interpretations. Many White social scientists and educators are either unaware of or detached from the realities of racism and as a result, can conduct social research that explains the difference s of White students and non White students in terms of cultural deficits. This reality impacted the study design. I choose to focus on how these Black students were supported by the structures of school and family, rather than how they were exceptions to t is also in line with the current direction of resilience research, which focuses more on the supportive factors involved in developing resilience and less on the risk factors or indi vidual resilience characteristics (Benard, 1991). Data collection and analysis Grounded theory methodology, used for this study, is appropriate for studies in which a researcher will analyze data in order to generate a substantive theory when current theo ries are inadequate or nonexistent (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Current studies on the resilience of Black students are based on quantitative data such as surveys, which limit participants to a constrained set of statements that may or may not accurately refl ect their realities. In the current study, qualitative data collected through interviews is grounded in the voices of the participants and provides important insight into the many layers of this issue.
77 Data collection and analysis happen simultaneously in grounded theory. This simultaneous process, along with the use of the constant comparative method, allows shape the final product of the theory and the direction o f the data collection itself (Glaser, 1965). Data collection and analysis followed a model based on Strauss and person individual interviews with each of the six participants, focusin g on one open ended e tentative themes (based on factors emerging from the data such as the importance of teachers who challenged them and family members who were strict in their discipline) and to create future interview questions based on those codes; (3) conducting a secon d round of interviews focused on probing those codes and themes in greater depth; (4) using open coding on those transcripts to create themes; and (5) creating comparisons and sorting codes and themes until categories emerged (See Appendix C for a list of codes and categories). I conducted two interviews with each participant, for a total of 12 interviews, with an average interview length of 45 minutes, generating a total of 176 double spaced pages of transcribed interview data. Each interview was audio re corded and transcribed verbatim. Those transcripts were then coded using the process described above, using coding, constant comparison, memoing, and memo sorting. The open coding process, also called initial coding, was used to develop categories of infor mation about the
78 phenomenon, along with subcategories or themes (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Open 1965). Initial coding involved naming words, lines, and segments of data. This was followed by focused coding, in which the most significant and frequent codes from the initial coding were compared to each other. Data were compared across participants with a constant search for similarities and differences. Through repeated com parison and sorting, categories emerged. The final step in the process was theoretical coding in which the codes were integrated into an analytical framework or story (Charmaz, 2006; Glaser, 1965; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). I have used a framework from stres s described in the following section, to illustrate and create a frame for the theory that emerged from this data. The Hardiness Framework The area of academic resilienc e research within the education field focuses on examining the concept of academic success within the context of significant adversity. The demographic factors of race, gender, family income and education level, and school characteristics of the participan ts in this study (identifying as Black males attending a high poverty high school, growing up with family members who did not graduate from college) constitute significant adversity within the United States today. Research suggests that increased family in come level (Mortenson, 1993; Ottinger, 1991), identifying as White (Boykin & Noguera, 2011; Everson & Millsap, 2004; Hollins, King, & Hayman, 1994), and increased parental education ( Radford, Berkner, Wheeless, & Shepherd 2010; U.S. Department of Education, 1998) are positively
79 correlated with educational success. Yet, these resilient students, whose demographic factors identify them as more likely to fail academically, succeeded. As the area of resilience research examines success in the face of adversity, the area of hardiness research within the field of psychology examines the effect of stress on different populations, specifically why certain people seem to be protected from t he potentially debilitating effects of stress. Those who thrive under stressful conditions are Oullette, 1993 ). These are referred son, 2010; caring relationships) act as stress buffers and enable resilient individuals to develop characteristics of hardiness. These characteristics of hardiness are similar to the attitude of self efficacy, a crucial factor in developing resilience. These characteristics of commitment, control, and challenge (Maddi, 2002). 1. Commitm ent 2. Control 3. Challenge or negative, rather than playing it safe by avoiding uncertainties and potential These characteristics appear to be isolated characteristics within an individual. However, the focus of this study is to examine how the protective factors within the environment surrounding individuals support the individuals in developing these characteristics. These stress buffers are generated from supports in the environment, and therefore, the relationships among stress buffers are more important in this study
80 than the individual buffers themselves. This relationship among characteristics is similarly important within the hardiness framework, as Maddi (2002) d escribes it: Imagine people high in control but simultaneously low in commitment and challenge. Such people would want to determine outcomes but would not want to waste time and effort learning from experience or feeling involved with people, things, and e and would be vulnerable to seeing themselves as better than the others and as having nothing more to learn. There is surprisingly little to call hardiness in this orientation. (p. 175) This addresses a current l imitation of the resilience body of literature: the isolation of major protective factors in the lives of resilient individuals (Gardynik & McDonald, 2005; Garmezy, 1991; Gordan, 1995). Supportive factors do not operate in isolation, and their interaction can be much more powerful if studied as such (Luthar, (characteristics of environments that appear to counteract potential negative outcomes) started this shift of focus toward an investigation of the relationships among those factors that allow at protective factors (caring relationships, high expectation messages, and opportunities for meaningful participation and contribution) are well represented by the findings of this study, but we need to know more about how these factors interact and intersect in order to scaffold the development of the 3 Cs of hardiness within individuals. With that in mind, the followin g section examines the relationships among the protective factors that arose from the data for this study, using the 3Cs framework. A Grounded Theory of Resilience Three main categories of protective factors emerged from the data: family support, school s upport (including administrators and teachers), and external support
81 (such as being part of a community mentoring organization). In the framework below, these categories will be labeled as follows: Family Support: FS School Support: SS External Support: E S As is common within qualitative research, I did not attempt to establish a hierarchical system in which one category causes another or is more important than another. The purpose of the theory generated from these specific participants is to (Strauss & Corbin, 1994, p. 278). In this case, the relationships of interest are among the factors that supported first generation, Black college students from high poverty high schools in developing resilience. In using the 3Cs framework to organize the data, the relationships among the factors and their role in scaffolding the development of hardiness took precedence. Some categories (such as school support) were separated into sub cat egories, in order to allow those sub categories to be separated and placed into an area with another sub category based on the 3 Cs framework. For example, the category of school support included the sub area of the hardiness framework, dealing with being involved in a supportive organization, and the latter fit into the challenge area of the framework, dealin g with being able to learn from events both positive and negative. While both sub categories fit within the category of school support, it is more effective to examine exactly how each sub category of school support contributed to developing the resilience of these
82 students. Each area will be examined holistically therefore, rather than isolating each category, in order to better examine the relationships among them and how they scaffold the development of stress buffers. From this study, the three areas o f hardiness, along with the sub categories that demonstrate the factors that scaffolded the development of each attitude, include: Commitment : Having parents who valued education (FS), having a personal rtive school administrator (SS), being part of a community mentoring program (ES) Control : being part of a religious organization (ES), having parents who valued hard work (FS), having parents who promoted independence and responsibility (FS) Challenge : ha ving challenging teachers (SS), being tracked into a gifted or honors program (SS), having parents who enforced strict discipline (FS) Commitment Being committed to a group or even to another person seems to support students in developing a sense of enga gement and purpose in their daily tasks, even when those tasks might not appear engaging on the surface. For these students, the relationships that supported the development of commitment included relationships with parents, teachers, school administrators and mentors. The way that these interdependent relationships supported the development of commitment in these participants is the focus of this section. Growing up with family members who valued education supported all of the participants in developing a sense of commitment to their own academic achievement. Trey, who grew up in a matriarchal family composed of his grandmother, mother, and aunts, described his conversations with his grandmother as a key component in his commitment to academic success. Her education ended in the eighth grade, and she told him often that she wanted more for him, as did his mother, whose education ended
83 after high school. Seei ng their struggles and hard work inspired Trey to focus on his education, or as he explained it, They encouraged me through the life that they lived and through their education; get the bett life lessons. Having a parent who valued educat ion and had high expectations for him was a mother and a Black father, explained that his academic achievement was supported by in Nicaragua. When the civil war happened in Nicaragua, it was very scary for my family, her side of the family, becaus e at that time they were starting to take kids out of the school and forcing them to join the Sandinista army. The w hy she takes education so seriously. many of their parents had not had positive experiences in school, and none of them had completed any education past the high school l evel. This created an interesting dynamic in parent teacher relationships. All of the participants described their parents as being definition of parental engagement has tra ditionally focused mostly on parental involvement in school based activities, such as volunteering or attending parent teacher conferences. The parents of these participants were unable to participate in that type of support, but their engagement in their
84 nonetheless impactful. In stressing the importance of academic achievement with their children, as well as in acknowledging their own academic shortcomings, the parents pressed their children to develop relationships wit h their teachers. Those relationships then became key supportive factors in nurturing the resilience of these participants. All of the participants identified at least one teacher whose presence in their lives contributed to their resilience. Their parents encouraged them to develop personal shortcomings prevented them from helping with assignments directly. Marcus, who grew up with his mother and aunt in a poor, agricultural based area, described his the participants to get help with their needs outside the classroom, such as completing applications for college. Trey described one high school Englis h teacher who edited his college essays multiple times, and Marcus described multiple high school teachers whom he still contacts with questions he has about possible opportunities post college. Both teachers and school administrators often met academic n eeds that could administrator who was in charge of the extracurricular activities at his high school when he became the student government president: Student government wa s something that a lot of girls did; the guys were focused on sports or whatever. So she made sure I stayed on top of that, made sure I maintained a good image. If I needed anybody to talk to while I was in school, or if I had to get something off my chest she was there.
85 ving the house. guidance counselors for support as well, and he saw them offering that support for other students in his predominately Black school, as did Marcus, whose adminis trators mailed dedication and their knowledge of the struggles that their student population faced: bout the disadvantage of African American students, and they wanted to make sure those All of the participants described knowing that others were invested in their success as one of the reason s that they continued to work hard in the face of adversity. Through school or church all of the participants were involved in some form of mentorship program, which impacted their self esteem and their ability to continue to be engaged and successful in s chool. Half of the participants took part in Take Stock in Children, a Florida non profit organization that provides college scholarships and assigned mentors to academically promising students at high dropout risk starting in middle school. The participan ts met weekly with their mentors, who were adult Black males in their community who provided a successful older male role model for them. lk about different things, whether it was family or school or scholarships. I had some scholarship interviews that were really far away, and
86 daughter was attending Florida A& M University when Marcus was in high school. Marcus described his support as not academic, specifically, but more motivational, as someone who always knew about any problems or struggles he was having and helped him deal with any issues he might be having. successful person in order to prepare for college and to develop his leadership skills. He told Trey Trey to step out of his comfort zone and improve his communication skills to the point where he is now leading a group of 50 freshmen in a mentorship program at the univer learned from the other: I started to really look forward to those meetings because every time we spoke, I learned something more about him, and he learned something more about me Navy and got the discipline he needed and then w ent to college. He encouraged me to go to college right away, and he said the sooner I went, the better off I would be. The relationships with parents, teachers, school administrators, and mentors provided a structure of support that allowed the young men in this study to succeed. This foundation then encouraged the growth of the attitude of agency described in the following section. While all of the participants attributed their success to their perseverance and drive, they also attributed the development of those characteristics to their relationships. The development of those relationships contributed to a sense of
87 being able to identify how to solve any problems that one encounters. Having supportive adults in their lives enabled them exert control and t o not be overwhelmed by challenging circumstances, knowing they could get help if they needed it. Control The attitude of control is also referred to as agency thought in the field of to reach use self other words, those with a high sense of control do not feel like victi ms; they fully believe that their efforts can influence their desired outcome. The participants in this study described those feelings of control in different ways: as having a sense of their own urpose. Those feelings were developed through their relationships with religious leaders and their parents. They described the attitude of control as knowing that if they needed help, there would be a way to get it through one of the many different sources of support that they experienced. All of the participants attributed the development of that mindset to growing up in church. While most of them did not describe themselves as regular churchgoers, their experiences in church created a sense of divine pur pose in their lives. George faith also led him to believe that God had a intervention in his life contributed to his success. Ryan, whose parents also grew up in Haiti and insisted that their children attend church with them every week, also believed
88 that attending church had an impact on his life and encouraged him to be a good son and a successful student. Felipe attributed his very life to his faith, as he had contemplated suicide in high can se e that my life does have a purpose, you know? I believe that God put me here for encouraged by his father and through being part of a Bible Club at his high school. Ten Commandments, but who also taught him that Christianity was not an individual pursuit. your John described his faith in similar ways, especially in his invol vement with a supported him and other students in developing sportsmanship as well as in sha ring faith and Bible lessons. The sense that being successful created an obligation to then help others achieve success was shared by Trey, who expressed gratitude for the so consumed with self greed that you forget that there are still others who need help and the
89 generations down the road. Things do get hectic, things do get stressful; we have to support each oth er. The importance of supporting those in your community who need it seemed to ly our personal motivation or drive that matters, we lose sight of a whole lot of that advising his younger sisters also made him a stronger person and gave him a sens e of responsibility. Felipe attributed some of his agency to watching superhero movies as a kid and wanting to save the day like his heroes Spiderman and Ironman, as well as to reading and writing epic hero tales. Another factor that contributed to the pa rticipants developing the characteristic of control was the way their family members enforced discipline. All of the participants identified the strong discipline of their family members as a crucial factor in the nurturing of their resilience. Despite not always valuing this discipline when they were younger, all of the participants reflected on the ways that it eventually made them able to take charge of their own lives and enact self discipline. Trey described how his parents checked in with his teacher on early release day would be like a curse on me because my parents would come and get me out e that, and the next day I would not be slacking off any John explained that taking care of his younger sisters enabled him to develop
90 actually divorced when I was nine. It was a bad situation, but it taught me great life lessons. I had to basically become the man of the house, and I had to mature at a very siblings learned from a young ag e that their parents were much stricter than the parents These challenging experiences provided more than structure while the stu dents were living at home. They created an attitude of circumspection, a maturity that allowed the participants to set up a structure of discipline for themselves once they moved away pline: make a great impact on my life from not having it. So that is what makes a always saying yes to your kids and getting them whatever they want, they grow up with this attitude that everything is supposed to b e hand given to really how life works. Hard work and making hard choices also contributed to the success of all of the participants. Their sense of agency supported them in persevering through difficult mother died, when his house went into foreclosure and he started wearing the same clothes every day. He describes that time period this way: I remem because there were so many things. I thought about my mom, I thought house. Every day I went to school it would seem like eve rybody would be day faced with this...just the lack of resources, you know? And I just felt
91 best I can in a positive way. characte ristic, but the crucial factors in developing that attitude were the relationships that these participants had. Through these relationships, the characteristics of commitment and control were intertwined. Because the participants were supported by those re lationships, they were able to dedicate themselves to their schoolwork. Because the participants were committed to their academic achievement and engaged with their own learning, they developed a sense of agency. Developing those characteristics was a by p roduct of the support that was provided within the relationships with the challenge, described next, was developed through the experiences that the participants had in those rel ationships. Challenge The attitude of challenge describes those who prefer to learn through experience, whether positive or negative. They do not seek comfort or security; rather, they believe that each event in their lives holds meaning and provides an opportunity for growth. In this study, the challenging events experienced by the participants supported them in developing a resilient attitude, rather than serving as risks or roadblocks. Because these challenging experiences were experienced within a context that included a tru sted relationship with a teacher or parent, the experiences were less likely to be perceived as threats. Examining the factors that supported participants through these challenging experiences is the focus of this section.
92 As mentioned in the section on c ontrol, all participants described making hard choices that others in similar situations could or would not make. There was a strong perception, however, that this was not an individually developed power or characteristic. Instead, it was an attitude that was developed because of their relationships with trusted authority figures. Trey explained: I held myself to a higher standard, yes, but I feel, who am I to judge? I must be accepting of that and try to help them or their children so that they educated students who come from communities like mine; they completely forget about the community because they had a couple of bad much ability be just the circumstances in which we live our lives and things that we are faced with and the ways we get to explore certain abilities. One of the trusted authority figures for each of the partici pants was a teacher. All of the participants were tracked into a gifted or honors program, which provided them with a positive context in which to develop their abilities. They were recognized as having strong academic abilities, an unusual experience for many young Black men in public schools (Boykin & Noguera, 2011). Despite spending their days in advanced classes, they saw the impact that less challenging classes had on their peers. As Trey o had regular students experienced what life was like outside his honors classes: S o it was me and these two other guys who got mixed into the regular classes; I feel like that was my first experience of what class was like on the other side. It was pretty weird because there were no windows in the building and it was really small; every thing was really close together. It
93 and I guess the student ended up just walking out of class and leaving and [th e teacher] was actually teaching, but I do remember him trying to discipline him [the student], and it seemed like it happened regularly because all the other students were just minding their own business or talking. The focus on discipline rather than in struction was one that several of the participants mentioned in describing how the regular classes differed from the honors classes at their schools. They also described fewer resources and teachers who acted more as babysitters than instructors, handing o ut low level worksheets with very little personal interaction with their students. In contrast, the participants reported that being in advanced classes engaged them mentally and shaped their identities. Most of the participants described themselves as bo okworms who spent many afternoons indoors reading when their peers were out playing basketball or hanging out. This choice to dedicate themselves to academics may have made them anomalies in their neighborhoods, but it was supported by both their parents a nd their teachers. In describing his high school science just pushing me, telling me not to be afraid to ask. So being able to think on your own and not rely on others, th George saw his success as connected to his ability to make hard choices that other students were not willing to make, such as taking advanced classes that challenged him and forced him to put in the work. choosing to be in honors classes was something
94 that most students in his school refused to do because they thought it was too hard. Having teachers who were tough on him, however, was something that supported him in achieving success. The teachers identi fied as their supporters by participants never communicated that their students could not handle the work because of their backgrounds; rather, they acknowledged the difficulties that students might face, provided the extra help that was needed, and made s ure that their students knew that they believed in them. John described his physics teacher in this way: g Acknowledging the effort required and setting high expectations were not enough to nurture resilient characteristics in these stu dents, however. The participants noted that knowing that their teachers believed in them encouraged them to persevere. Felipe described the significance of knowing a teacher believed in him in talking about his high they were able to overcome the challenges associated with growing up in high poverty neighborhoods through the support of the ir teachers. Marcus described the ways that his tenth grade science teacher showed that she believed in him and supported him in ith a lot of things, even when it came down to
95 Through these supportive relationships with teachers and parents, the participants were supporting in developing a sense of challe nge, a sense that they with the world was directly impacted by this characteristic, as many of them discussed their ability to face challenges and meet difficult standards once they got to college because this characteristic was developed in them earlier in their lives. The support provided by their network of relationships created a safety net that enabled these students to try new things and risk failure, knowing that they could always pick themselves back up and try again. Discussion The focus of resilience research is moving toward an examination of resilience as a process, rather than a product (Benard, 2004; McCubbin, Thompson, & McCubbin 2001; Morales, 2008). My find ings are aligned with that concept, in that the theory that is grounded in the data reflects the varied ways in which resilience is developed and supported. By examining the support systems of resilient Black male college students, I have developed a groun ded theory of resilience enabled by their interactive relationships with family members, school personnel, and community members. The interactive support systems that the participants described in this study are consistent with much of the literature on t he resilience of Black students ( Borman & Overman, 2004; Peck, et al., 2008; Wasonga, et al., 2003 ). The findings also reinforce family members interacted as protective facto r clusters to contribute to the development of resilience in the lives of Black college undergraduates. The findings also expand on
96 clearly related to the academic resilience of Black high school students than the factors of school support and future expectations through the direct correlation of high parental monitoring with the development of academic self esteem. Parental monitoring was a key factor in the resilience of these students. However, the current study helps illuminate the dynamic interplay of factors, rather than examining parental monitoring in isolation. The focus on this interaction is consistent with research on successful Black male college students, in that th e participants attributed their success to the support of their family, school, and community. In a study based on interviews with 219 Black male college students, Harper (2012) found that participants did not describe themselves as inherently superior to their peers, but rather, they believed that lower performing Black male students did not experience success because they had not encountered relationships that motivated them to be engaged or to strive for academic success. The participants in that study b elieved that it was unfortunate that more Black men did not have these same opportunities. As Harper Family su pport was critical in relation to the nurturing of the resilience of these students, yet none of the families were able to meet all the needs of their students. Therefore, the support of school personnel or community members was critical in developing the fabric of support that scaffolded these young men. (See Appendix D for a diagram of this relationship.) While teachers or administrators might perceive that the shows that parents were aware of when their children needed more academic help.
97 More importantly, they perceived teachers as knowledgeable resources for their children. By acknowledging those areas and encouraging the students in this study to get those needs met by teachers or administrators, the parents of the participants assisted them in developing crucial personal relationships with teachers, ones in which they were not afraid to ask questions. They also modeled an attitude of humility, acknowledging that it is impossible to get help without admitting where and how you need it. Cunningham and Swanson (2010) similarly examined the impact of parental education level on student academic achievement and found that while a low level of parental education is nega tively correlated with student academic success, that impact can be contradicted by the presence of a home environment where education is valued and where a strong parental work ethic is evident. For these participants, the work ethic, the value of educati on, and the high expectations expressed by their family members were clear supports in the nurturing of their resilience. For Black students in Wasonga, resilience and o f self them to a belief in their own academic abilities. School support was also a critical factor in the nurturing of resilience for these participants. The development and recognition of the academic competence of the participants were key factors in their successful teacher student relationships. The teachers described in this study were not only supportive and understanding; they were demanding and held the students to a high standard because they knew that the the maintenance of high expectations (Ross, Bondy, & Hambacher, 2008; Ware, 2006).
98 For these participants, knowing that their teachers believ ed in them and expected success from them enabled them to overcome any challenges they faced. This confirms expectations to their students, along with a refusal to accept the possibility of failure, were less likely to demonstrate an achievement gap between low and high income students. In the current study, high expectations were combined with recognition of their individual abilities. In other words, they described teachers school can be seen as a haven for students undergoin g stressful events outside school, especially if they see school as a place where they could develop and display competence (Cunningham & Swanson, 2010). This combination of high expectations and supportive belief was a powerful factor in nurturing their r esilience. Finally, having a support system outside the home played another important role for the participants in this study. One method of support was found through having a male mentor, either through a community mentoring program or through church. Th is mentorship for Black male students, in that the majority of students in this study reported experiencing powerful support from male mentors. However, the participan ts in the current study also reported finding support from female school personnel. The participants noted that their most powerful relationships were with teachers who were caring, challenging, and who believed in their ability, regardless of gender or ra ce. In fact, many of the participants specifically described White female teachers who were
99 honest about the challenges facing Black male students and who encouraged students to overcome those challenges. The gender of their mentors was less important than the community mentors were able to advise the participants on college applications, drive them to scholarship interviews, and provide a college educated role model fo r them to emulate. The participants described this mentoring as crucial to the development of college oriented perspectives. Conclusion and Implications Research in the area of resilience has grown from examining the risk factors that students face to exa mining the assets that they hold as individuals (Benard, 2004). However, the focus on the isolation of major protective factors in the lives of resilient individuals continues to limit the scope and applicability of resilience research. As was demonstrated in this study, the combinations and specific arrangements of protective factors that enhance resilience are much more salient. It is this combination that is likely to support an at risk student in developing resilience (Morales & Trotman, 2004). Within t he field of education research, our task is now to continue to delineate how these interactive systems of protective factors develop, how they operate, how they enable a given student within his or her environment, and how they can be facilitated and nurtu red by their support systems, specifically those within schools. It appears that teachers and administrators who can recognize a broadened definition of family engagement so that they can affirm the supportive actions taken by families will be more likely to support the nurturing of resilience in their students. Further research on how to accomplish this would be valuable. In addition, because this study focused on the experiences of a specific subgroup of students (Black male students), further
100 research on different racial or gender based subgroups would provide valuable insights and information. study. As this was a non experimental research design, a control group was not required. However, within the field of resilience research, the classic study design is a high risk sample and examined for adaptive and maladaptive outcomes (Cowen, Wyman Work, Kim, Fagen, & Magnus, 1997; Werner & Smith, 1992 ). Characteristics of the students within the resilient subgroup can then be compared with those from within the same group who developed significant adjustment problems, in order to determine what pr otective factors correlate with the development of resilience. This type of study design allows for a close examination of the factors and relationships that contribute to resilience for certain students, even when all other factors are controlled. Further studies in this area could benefit from a mixed methods approach, combining the grounded theory methodology of this study with a longitudinal examination of resilient and non resilient individuals from within the same group. The goal of this study has be en to provide a detailed look at how, through supportive relationships, a certain group of resilient Black students attending high poverty schools overcame the risks they faced within the American public school system. However, there is more work to be don e. Specifically, we need to interpret how and why more Black students living in poverty fare in school as they do and to develop policy that will ameliorate racial gaps in achievement. This study identifies a few possible ways to counteract the achievement gap, but more importantly, its methods
101 identify the key factor in learning more about this issue: the stories of the students themselves. The voices of those students who have defied that achievement gap will continue to be crucial in further research on how to support resilience for all Black students.
102 Article 2 : Expanding the Definition of Parental Involvement Parental involvement is clearly linked with academic success for all students, regardless of income level (Desimone, 1999; Epstein & Dauber, 1991; Fan & Chen, 2001; Garcia & Hasson, 2004; Hughes & Kwok, 2007; Ingram, Wolfe, & Lieberman, 2007; Knopf & Swick, 2007). 2 Despite its important connection to academic achievement, studies of parental involvement reveal disagreement on how to de fine the term (Jeynes, 2005; Lewis & Forman, 2002; Lopez, Scribner, & Mahitivanichcha, 2001). The traditional definition of parental involvement includes volunteering at the school, communicating with teachers, helping with homework, and attending school e vents (Epstein, Sanders, Simon, Salinas, Jansorn, & Van Voorhis, 2009; Hill & Taylor, 2004). In this definition, teachers solicit parent volunteers to provide supplies, such as snacks or fundraiser items, and to invest both time and money (Epstein & Dauber 1991; Epstein et al., 2009; Zellman & Waterman, 1998). Those who are unable to volunteer, often low (1997) provided an expanded definition of parental involvement that includes t he following four components: parental expectations, parental interest, parental involvement in school, and parent child communication. This expanded definition can provide new insight into the meaning of this term. Low income or non White 3 populations of ten focus on the non school elements of parental involvement (expectations, interest, and parent child communication), and 2 The term parental involvement is used here with the under standing that different family members can act as parents, regardless of their biological connection to the student 3 of this study, students identif Hispanic, and students
103 words, parents who may be involved in their as by creating a strong structure of discipline in the home or by encouraging the value do not attend Back to School Night often connected to income level or culture, as low income parents can be less present and more hesitant to connect with schools and teachers when compared to middle income parents, and non White parents m ay measure involvement by their activities at home and in the community instead of their activities at school (Lareau & Shumar, 1996; Lawson, 2003). parental involvement reve aled. White teachers rated the involvement of Black parents as lower than White parents, even when those same Black parents self reported a high beliefs about academi c achievement, Lynn, Bacon, Totten, Bridges, and Jennings (2010), reported that 45 of the 50 teachers surveyed cited home factors as a primary factor explaining low achievement in Black male high school students, connecting le of deficit thinking, which occurs when teachers assume that low income or non White students are lacking important elements crucial to academic success, based on an over expe riences (Garcia & Guerra, 2004). Two examples of deficit thinking stated in Garcia do not identify as being of African descent, as well as Black Americans who are of Caribbean or Hispanic descent (Boykin & Noguera, 2011).
104 160). differ based on income level and culture, a clear, broad definition of parental involvement is needed, particularly one that takes differing perspectives based on involvement is often based on the traditional definition described above, and this definition may, in fact, run counter to the ways in which students actually need their parents to be involved. Understanding the definition and the role of parental involvement from studen important factor. This article therefore draws on a study of the perspectives of high achieving Black male students from low income communities describing their perspectives about t he role of parental involvement in their academic success. An examination of the results of that study will follow a brief literature review examining the importance of moving beyond deficit thinking and creating a broader definition of parental involvemen t. Moving Beyond Deficit Thinking of parents based upon their own values tend to have relativ ely low expectations for efficacy is
105 those students or hold low expectations for them. Deficit thinking theory places the blame for the lack of academic success of poor minority students on students and their families, with the explanation that these families are disadvantaged, at risk, and uninvolved. Teachers who exhibit this way of thinking 1994; Valencia, 1991). White teachers who exhibit deficit thinking may believe that students who are culturally diffe rent from themselves innately have less competence, less intelligence, less capability, and less self motivation (McKenzie & Scheurich, 2004), insurmountable gaps related to a chievement. When teachers engage in deficit thinking, A Broader Definition of Parental Involvement Lack of perceived parental involvement is often used as the explanation for low student p erformance, as well as a main factor in the achievement gap between low income, minority students and their high income peers (Bol & Berry, 2005; Gonzalez & Ayala Alcantar, 2008; Lynn, et. al, 2010; Patterson, Hale, & Stessman, 2008; Green, Walker, Hoover Dempsey, & Sandler, 2007). However, low income parents often report barriers to their interaction with teachers, citing factors such as their own negative schooling experiences or language barriers (Drummond & Stipek, 2004). Walker (2011) found that eleme ntary teachers often attribute the academic failure of their low aspirations or lack of educational goals. However, a recent review of British education research reported that parents o f low income students and the students themselves had
106 high aspirations and greatly valued the importance of education; however, due to their own lack of academic success, parents needed teachers to provide practical knowledge that could enable them to supp ort their children (Cummings, Laing, Law, McLaughlin, Papps, Todd, & Woolner, 2012). In fact, interventions that emphasized involving parents interventions focused on changing provided information to those parents in the form of effective home learning techniques, more likely to see a positive impa al., 2012). Low income parents, especially non White low income parents, often see their they value education and har d work. Lopez (2001) explored the concept of hard work as related to parental involvement in his study on a migrant family whose children were highly academically successful. He discovered that while this Mexican family was parents defined their involvement by showing their children the value of education through the medium of h lessons of working hard in the field into lessons for working hard in school, with the Research suggests that this focus on parental expectations might be more important than a traditional definition of parental involvement based on volunteering at school.
107 Hoge, et al. (1997) reported in a two year longitudinal study of over 300 public middle school students that discernible impact on their academic achievement. Although studies like these examine how teachers or schools can change their practices or broaden their understanding of parental invol vement in order to encourage it, it is also important to examine the ways low income Black students and parents found that low income Black parents see the following home b ased elements as part of consistent behavioral rules, engaging in frequent and meaningful conversations, encouraging independence, and expressing high expectations (Abdul Adi l & Farmer, 2006; Jackson & Remillard, 2005). However, few studies have examined successful low in their education, which is the purpose of this article. Qualitative Metho dology This qualitative, interview based study was taken from a larger study designed to generate a theory describing the resilience of first generation Black male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools and who were currently attend ing a large, public, predominately White institution (PWI). Because of the social constructivist framework (Crotty, 1998) of the study, which acknowledges that our reality is often influenced by the groups to which we belong and by the power structure unde r which we live, the data consisted entirely of individual interviews which originated from one question: ounts for
108 students believed supported them in getting ready for and into college, and most importantly, their perceptions of those factors. One of the main factors that emer ged as crucial to the nurturing of their resilience was parental involvement. Participants The participants in this study were six Black first generation male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools in Florida and who were attending a PWI. Their ages ranged from 18 to 22. Purposeful sampling yielded participants who could provide information rich cases for in depth understanding (Creswell & Clark, 2007; Patton, 2001). The method of purposeful sampling used here targeted community by recruiting from that community directly (Foster, 1997). The participants were recruited from two scholarship programs that support Black students from high poverty high sc hools, as well as from Black student organizations on campus. Five of the six participants attended high school in urban areas. Table 1 illustrates further demographic information about each participant, along with their pseudonyms. Table 4 1. Participan ts Participant Classification High School Location (County) Felipe Freshman Duval John Freshman Miami Dade Trey Sophomore Miami Dade Ryan Sophomore Miami Dade George Senior Orange Marcus Senior Palm Beach County
109 Data collection and a nalysis Grounded theory methodology was used for this study since grounded theory is used to create a substantive theory when current theories are inadequate or nonexistent (Creswell & Clark, 2007). The qualitative data collected through these interviews is ground ed in the voices of the participants and provides important insight into the many layers of the concept of resilience that may not have been explored through quantitative, survey based studies limiting participants to a constrained set of statements (e.g., Borman & Overman, 2004; C unningham & Swanson, 2010; Peck et al., 2008). Data collection and analysis happen simultaneously in grounded theory. Data that involved the foll owing steps: (1) conducting in person individual interviews with each of the six participants, focusing on one open to college, and you those transcripts to create tentative themes (based on factors emerging from the data) and to create future interview questions based on those codes; (3) conducting a second round of inte rviews focused on probing those codes and themes in greater depth; (4) using open coding on those transcripts to create themes; and (5) creating comparisons and sorting codes and themes until categories emerged. Open coding themes emerging from the data in step 2 included the following: having parents who valued education, having parents who said no, having parents who believed in you, and having parents who gave you responsibility. Follow up questions for the second round of interviews
110 were created that pr obed these concepts, and finally, in step 5, the final category of parental involvement as a main factor in nurtur ing resilience emerged. In evaluating the trustworthiness of the study, I recognize that as a White, privileged, middle class female, I come from an etic or outsider, perspective to examine the experiences of my participants. To address this, I took the transcripts of the first round of interviews, as well as my preliminary open coding analysis and tentative future interview questions, to a me eting with a Black female doctoral student, who grew up in an urban area. She helped to provide feedback from a perspective that I do not have. I also attempted to decentralize my power through shared, collaborative data analysis with my participants, whic h consisted of individual member checking and a group dialogue around the themes that I saw emerging from their stories, in which the participants both confirmed and elaborated on my interpretations. That group dialogue occurred after step 4 of the model d escribed above and involved discussing the themes that arose from the open coding process (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Three main categories emerged from the data: school support (including administrators and teachers), external support (such as being part o f a community mentoring organization), and family support (parental involvement or the support of family members acting as parents) Findings related to parental involvem ent are the focus of this article Findings Parental involvement was described by all six of the participants as a crucial factor in the nurturing of their resilience. The category of parental involvement was broken down into three themes: instilling the values of education and hard work, setting hi gh expectations, and enforcing strict discipline.
111 The theme of the importance of hard work, especially on academic tasks, was a crucial factor in the parental involvement of these participants. Each participant discussed having a parent who highly valued education and who showed that value through teaching their children the importance of hard work. Examples included having to re write homework if it appeared messy and the exp ectation that children always make top grades (a C was seen as a failing grade). One biracial participant, John, explained it this way: E why she [my mom] takes education so seriou of her culture and a part of her beliefs. But she always took education very seriously you Trey, who grew up in a matriarchal home composed of his mother, grandmother, and aunts, also discussed the importance of education in his household with the story about time jo b in high school to help support his hey sai nd as a result I always worked harder also expressed interest in working toward an athletic scholarship for college, but his family steered him away from that as well, saying that they wanted him to make it to college solely on his academic ability. Marcus, who grew up in a poor, agricultural town, was taught by his mother that education was a way out of that poor community, where she had also been raised. When she decided to move away during schools. His moth
112 also shared by Trey, who was raised in part by his grandmother whose education ended in the eighth grade. He remembered her advice: to endure and go through somet hing that I and she was joking at comer for her time. The combi well, as they told him: And I think just their learning experiences and just seeing that me and my sisters have the potential and have the ability to do such great things in our lives and be able to not live that lifestyle that they did is why they pushed us so hard and made us want to do such great things because they know we have the opportunity to do it, we have the confidence to do for yourself. Because everything in America, everything that you do is opened up for grabs; if you want it you can get i t; you just have to work for it. This focu s on the importance of hard work matches previous research that participants to develop their own strong work ethic and by extension, their own sense of self efficacy (Morales 2010). In that same study, Morales reported that the factor of work ethic was a strong predictor of resilience independently, but when combined with became an even more powerful predictor.
113 As f in his When John started to struggle with some of his classes, his dad supported him by reminding him of his past accomplishments, but he did not attempt to help him acade mically: You know how you got here? It is your will, your strive and be the best and be in s chool and graduate with a 4.7 GPA. class activities and activities to help the community and help their school. a nd want to do that, especially for a Black male to be able to achieve that t, however, mean that their parents encouraged their children to ask questions of the teacher directly. Marcus said his mother created enrichment activities for him at home to practice his alphabet or counting skills, but she often did not understand his school assignments. Instead of communicating with teachers about the assignments, she advised him to ask his teachers for help. This form development of a personal relationship with his teachers, which was a main factor in his academic success.
114 belief in his abilities and support of his relationships with his teac hers as a key factor in enabling him to overcome any struggles that he faced: get you down. I know you can do better than this, just listen to the teacher closely to what he or she wants you to do, ask questions; always ask This form of support involved empowering these participants to determine when they needed help and when to rely on the teacher to provide that help. This was interpreted by the parents and the students as an important support for high achievement. Yet studies suggest that teachers might misinterpret the actions of these parents as uninvolved and non support ive. In a study comparing the perceptions of for Strategic Research and Communication (2012) found both sets of parents listed helping with homework as a main factor i n school involvement. However, some parents ved that children would let them know on their own if help and to find that help outside the home was reflected in the stories of the participants in the current study negative impact on achievement, Felipe described it as a way to help him develop t was kind of a way to give me a chance to show who I really am, if I did care
115 or d You got to do this. You got to but [he] just allowed me to make that choice. they had high expectations related to discipline. Each of the participants described feeling like they were the most disciplined kids in school, the only kids in the neighbo rhood with strict parents, the ones who parents said no to them the most. In hindsight, this was described not as hardship, however, but as a key to their success. family structure to make sure that I was on a straight path, out of trouble, very felt t he difference [between us] or I guess one of the elements of how [my parents] were ers was reported by each of the participants who described spending much of their time at home indoors with their homework, or reading. The discipline that appeared so strict at a younger age, however, was internalized as responsibility and self efficacy as the students grew older and their parents started to give them more responsibility. John described that process here: a choice. They tell you this is what you have to do: get it done. As I got older, they kind of loosened now; you have to take care of what you have to take care of. And as I got
116 olde and such a date, so I made sure that I got it done on that date. pline reflected in his financial decisions: other hand, we knew that every dollar that we got was precious because In describing the discipline of their parents, each of the participants ref lected on the necessity of that transition from strict rules to greater responsibility. Some of the students described being punished for bad grades, but most of them reported a sense of expectation that they wanted to live up to, not out of fear of punish ment, but because they wanted to make their family members proud and to reach those high expectations. Teachers who could connect with and share those high expectations for students could expect to see similar academic success, they believed. Through the development of high expectations, empowerment, responsibility, and an unwavering belief in their abilities, the parents of these participants enabled their children to succeed. The three themes of parental involvement (instilling the values of education an d hard work, setting high expectations, and enforcing strict discipline) expand the traditional definition of parental involvement, and in some areas, counter it. belie ved these themes of parental involvement were strong contributors to their academic success and resilience.
117 Discussion and Conclusion The aim of this paper is to report the perceptions of parental involvement held by a small group of Black first generation male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools. In a social constructivist study, the truth discovered through the interactions they have and the systems u nder which they live, as well as by the meaning making process of the researcher. Therefore, findings from this study cannot be used by teachers to generalize strategies for successfully involving all similar parents stories and prior research in this area is a stepping stone to overcoming the cultural barriers that have separated White teachers from non White, low income students and their families. The ways that these par ticipants experienced effective parental involvement illustrate the differences between what is considered traditional parental involvement (and works for some students) and a broader definition of involvement that could work for a wider range of students. Some studies show, in fact, that traditional methods of parental involvement such as volunteering only predicted increased academic parent child discussion, and househo ld rules were much more effective predictors of academic achievement for non White students (Desimone, 1999). In order for teachers to create productive partnerships with low income Black parents, the following recommendations are suggested by this study and by related research. First, teachers should discuss with parents how they talk about the value of education and hard work with their children. Understanding their belief structures can
118 help teachers to match them and more effectively reach students. S ometimes developing a conceptual understanding can reveal differing choices related to achieving an important goal. For example, Valenzuela (2009) discussed the difference between aying there in order to make it better. In her study of a Houston high school, Valenzuela reported that Mexican American students with low academic achievement described feeling n their cultural values encouraged them to improve themselves along with their communities, not at the expense of their communities. can or should help with their homework. Because neither Ma help them with their assignments, they encouraged them to develop strong personal relationships with their teachers, which developed into another supportive factor of their resilience. If teachers want to see more par ental involvement, they might send home detailed descriptions of assignments with a calendar of due dates or call home to remind family members when assignments are due. Teachers might also call home to tell parents when their child is succeeding. Third, for them. High parental expectations have been found to contribute to a development of resilience and of self t hem to a belief in their own academic abilities (Wasonga, Christman, & Kilmer, 2003). The same holds true for teacher expectations (Cushman, 2005; Ross, Bondy, & Hambacher, 2008; Ware, 2006). Corbett, Wilson, and Williams (2005) found that
119 teachers who com municated high expectations to their students, along with a refusal to accept the possibility of failure, were less likely to demonstrate an achievement gap between low and high income students. One highly successful teacher described her philosophy this w what they do. I do think we have a group that someone has given up on. It is real easy grading policy that any students earning a grade lower than a C on an assignment must do the assignment over, and described her parental involvement as making house calls of your famil Creating effective methods of parental involvement remains a top priority for all schools, and yet, the methods used to do so are rarely innovative or culturally sensiti ve. Lopez et. al (2001) found that migran t impacted school districts that were successful at increasing parental involvement did so by holding themselves accountable to meeting the needs of parents first, rather than expecting them to meet a prescribed standard of the kind of involvement they req uired. In a study of highly successful Hispanic schools along the Texas/M exico border, Scribner, Young, and Pedroza (1999) found that staff members encouraged parental involvement by building on their cultural values through personal contact and structural accommodations. This study also addresses these the parents of these students were involved in their education may not have fit the expectations of their schools, bu t they were highly effective for these students.
120 As national policy calls for increases in parental involvement and Common Core standards list parental involvement as a goal for all schools, now is a crucial time to examine what we mean by the term and h ow we can support effective parental involvement for all students (Center for Strategic Research and Communication, 2012; U.S. Department of Education, 2003). Schools need to make a greater effort to understand specifically how low income parents define th e concept of involvement. This will enable teachers and schools to create a partnership with parents, rather than of marginalized families can then be validated in the b uilding of these partnerships (Moll, 1992, Valdes, 1996). When teachers consistently reach out to parents and make a special effort to build a relationship with them, parents can become more involved in ways that teachers recognize as important and that Stipek, 2004; Epstein & Dauber, 1991; Jacobbe, Ross, & Hensberry, 2012; Mapp, 1997). Those special efforts, however, go above and beyond parent teacher conferences or calling for volunteers, and can include tran slating a PTA meeting into Spanish, purchasing planners for written dialogue (translated into the home language if (Ackerman, 2013; Bower & Griffin, 2011; Jacobbe, et al., 2012). For school districts that are not ready or able to attempt these methods, a suggested alternative is for teachers to validate the ways that parents are already involved in the education of their children and to support those efforts. Through personal rela tionships with the parents of their
121 Article 3 : Relationships That Break the Color Line 4 Introduction In 1903, W .E. B. DuBois based problem in the 21st ce ntury. In 2009, only 13 percent of black 8th grade U.S. students reached the proficient level in reading comprehension on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), compared to 39 percent of white 8th grade students (National Center for Educat ion Statistics, 2010). Black students are also much more likely to live in poverty, as illustrated in a recent Pew Research Center report that debts) in 2009 . and the t Kochhar, 2011). However, some black students from high poverty backgrounds are academically successful. These resilient black students have been described as having supportive relationships with school personnel and having a sense of self efficacy, a crucial factor in developing resilience (Borman & Overman, 2004; Cunningham & Swanson, 2010; Morales, 2010; Peck et al., 2008). Survey based resilience studies show us success is possible for these student s, students developed self efficacy or what supportive relationships look like. When I interviewed first generation black male college students who graduated from high 4 This article will be published in the September 2013 issue of Educational Leadership
122 poverty high schools, their stories communicated that teacher and administrator relationships were crucial to their development of the resilience that led them to college. These six resilient students were members of campus black student organizations and volunteered for the study after receiving a recruitment email asking for black male first generation students who graduated from public high schools. I specifically asked for students who were willing to participate in face to face interviews and share the ir stories of achievement despite adversity. For these students, their relationships with the K 12 teachers and administrators made the difference. A Plan to Meet a Challenge Black students make up 17 percent of the U.S. school population but only 9 perce nt of gifted classes (U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 2006). Yet all the black college students I interviewed were recommended for some type of advanced classes in their K 12 schooling. These classes provided students with teachers w ho recognized their abilities and challenged them. George described an English teacher who created reports for each student, from the year before. Each student had to crea te a plan for countering his or her weaknesses. Here is how George described the final step of taking the plan to school administrators to be signed: do you have time so I can explain to you r answer
123 Helping students create a way to improve is one way their teachers helped them to nurture resilience. A Personal Investment These resilient students had teachers who were personally invested in them. The advanced placement study breakfasts on Saturdays or gave out their cell phone numbers and invited stu dents to call them for extra help. These efforts by teachers inspired students to dedicate themselves to their education. For students like Felipe, who faced personal crises like the death of his mom and the potential loss of his home, having a teacher wh o noticed that he was wearing the same clothes to school every day and took the time to talk to him was crucial: I remember he gave me a $50 [grocery] card for Christmas so I could finally buy some dinne r, like good dinner instead of ramen n oodles. You kn ow, knowing that he cared made me want to try harder in school, li ke, man, this guy believes in me, something in me that I might not even see. Although these students were in advanced classes, they still saw the d evastating impact abandoned their job . as teachers to educate, and they just began to give them Real World Issues The students acknowledged that growing up in a home without college educated parents created academic challenges for them. However, having teachers who could connect what students were learning to what they considered real world issues helped students to overcome those challenges.
124 George recalled a discussion on white privilege in his English class that was sparked by an analysis of the white snow surrounding Bigger Thomas as he is arrested Native Son teacher who connected algebraic equations to sales graphs for major businesses and calculus concepts to the daily tasks of engineer s. Jose remembered a history teacher whose real I was able to read the chapter, see how the world works, and then see how the world has changed over time Valuable Guidance First generati on college students might not have anyone at home to help them prepare for and apply to college. For these students, school administrators such as guidance counselors, community liaisons, and leaders of college assistance preparation programs filled that v You know how [some] parents prepay [for college] and start [saving] when ? M so I had to pretty much game plan from the beginning I definitely had a lot of help from my administration as far as you know stuff like you have to mail out these scholarships or getting stuff postmarked Having school personnel who acknowledged the challenges that students faced while expressing confidence in their abilities helped these stud ents achieve seemingly insurmountable tasks. Lessons Learned For students struggling with the challenges of poverty, school can provide a haven and a ladder to opportunity. The successful black males I interviewed indicated that their teachers and administ rators recognized their abilities, supported them, and pushed
125 them to succeed. These students are not gifted exceptions to our usual image of struggling poor black students. They are students who were encouraged and enabled by their schools. With the right support, their numbers could increase. indeed social and not primarily biological in nature, t hen it should be possible to fundamentally alter the predictability of racial patterns related to academic ability and performance if we can eliminate the ways in which those patterns are entrenched within the structure and culture of a school lics in original). The common themes in administrators can break the destructive pattern of low achievement and to support all students in nurtur ing resilience. George perhaps said i t best: I had teachers and administrators who wanted to make sure that students succeeded and who had an investment in those students. [They] would get your conduct on track, and no As a teacher or administrator, you face this decision daily: Will you let students from disadvantaged backgrounds just fall by the wayside, or will you help them get on trac k to meet high expectations and find success?
126 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND IMPLI CATIONS Introduction The purpose of this study was to generate a theory describing the resilience of first generation Black male college students who graduated from high poverty high schools and were attending a large, public, highly selective, predominately White university i n the southern United States. The six participants were selected to provide a purposeful sample to examine the experiences and perspectives of the targeted demographic through in depth interviews. The articles in Chapter Four presented an exploration of th that supported them in becoming resilient This chapter explores the substantive theory developed from that examination, connects it to the literature explored in Chapter Two, and pre sents implications for researchers, teacher educators and practicing educators. Review of the Study significance: one related to barriers to academic success for Black students from low SES families, and the second related to the factors that support the development of the resilience of Black students from high poverty schools or low SES families. As this literature provided the context for the study, the major points from both bodies of literature are briefly summarized below. There are significant barriers to academic success for Black students from low SES families. Group characteristics correlated to race include the increased probability for Black students to live in poverty, to l ack stable housing, and to lack stable health 12; Hertz, 2005 ; Tavernise, 2011). These factors all
127 have a negative impact on their academic achievement, as children who face chronic health problems or move often are more likely to struggle in school (Basch, 2011; Fantuzzo, LeBoeuf, Rouse & Chen 2012). In addition, the probability of Black students to live in poverty directly affects their academic achievement. Black children who live in a neighborhood with a high poverty rate have an average learning loss equivalent to a full year of school and high school graduation rates that are as much as 20 percentage and non White students are als o more likely to be placed in schools that have fewer resources, have fewer high quality teachers, and have more student disciplinary actions (Hughes, Stenhjem, & Newkirk, 2007; Clewell, Puma & McKay 2001 ). The literature suggests that the cultural divi de between White teachers and Black students can also negatively affect teacher student relationships and the academic achievement of Black students (Brown, 2008; Nieto, 1999; Slaughter Defoe & Rubin, 2001; Smalls White, Chavous & Sellers 2007; Webb Joh nson, 2002 ). Black males specifically face associated challenges connected with teacher student relationships such as placement in special education for behavior related incidents, grade retention, suspension, expulsion, dropping out, and violence (Davis, 2003; Garibaldi, 1992; Graybill, 1997; Griffin, 2002; How ard, 2003; Ladson Billings, 2009 ; Levin, 2008; Monroe, 2005; Osborne & Walker, 2006 ). Students who succeed in the face of significant challenges such as those documented
128 information about the characterist ics of resilient students, we know less about how they develop those characteristics. The focus of interest for this study was not to characterize the characteristics of resilient individuals, but to examine the factors that support the development of resi lience in youth (Davey, Eaker & Walters, 2003; Gardynik & McDonald, 2005; Peck, et al., 2008). A review of the resilience literature in Chapter Two indicated that resilient Black students living in poverty were characterized by the presence of supportive h ome relationships and supportive school relationships, both of which led to the individual supportive factor of self efficacy (Borman & Overman, 2004; Cunningham & Swanson, 2010; Morales, 2008; Morales, 2010; Peck, et al., 2008; Wasonga, et al., 2003). Su pportive home relationships were identified by the presence of high parental monitoring and expectations and by parental work history and work ethic. Supportive school relationships were identified by the presence of caring school personnel (other than tea chers) and positive teacher student relationships. Little extant research, however, examines how these factors interact, and how that interaction is related to the development of resilience. In addition, most resilience studies are based on surveys and qua ntitative data, which do not capture the details of how students develop and experience resilience. The studies fail to address how students developed the characteristic of self efficacy, or exactly what their supportive relationships looked like. The curr ent study was designed to investigate the process of resilience using the stories of resilient students. This study contributes to our understanding of the role that supportive relationships play in the development of resilience by offering a theory of res ilience generated from interviews with resilient first generation Black male college
129 students who graduated from high poverty high schools and were currently attending a large, public, PWI For this social constructivist study, I conducted 12 interviews, t wo with each of the six participants. The grounded theory design of the study dictated a broad research question and broad interview questions in order to allow a substantive theory to emerge xplains the resilience of first generation Black male college students from high poverty high schools? To address this research question, I engaged in a constant comparative analysis of the interview data during data collection and used the analysis to gui de the subsequent interviews. This process allowed me to explore themes as they emerged and to seek data from participants to confirm, refute, or elaborate on my interpretations. I also attempted to decentralize my power through shared, collaborative data analysis with my participants. The collaborative data analysis consisted of individual member checking of transcripts and a group dialogue around the themes that I saw emerging from their stories. The result was a grounded theory that offers an explanatio n of how supportive relationships contribute to the development of resilience in first generation Black male college students from high poverty high schools. Findings you kn emotion, but hope is a cognitive, behavioral process that we learn when we experience adversity when we have relationships that are trustworthy, when people have faith in
130 to accurate description of the protective factors involved in developing resilience. For these participants, the development of resilience was supported at every stage of their lives by their relationships. Findings indicated that as previously suggested by the literature, family and school relationships were cru cial in providing much needed support. However, external support was also identified as a key factor in this study, specifically in form of community mentoring groups and religious organizations. All three of these relationship types contributed to the dev elopment of self efficacy, previously identified as a key element of resilience. (See Appendix C for a description of each type of support.) Findings from the study are presented as three manuscripts. A brief s ummary of each is provided here, followed by o verall conclusions from all three articles. The first article examined the school support that supported resilience in these participants. They described the importance of having a personal relationship with a teacher who recognized their abilities and c hallenged them. They listed being in an honors or advanced class as a supportive factor that provided them with excellent teachers T heir personally invested teachers were then a factor in the development of their academic work ethic. School administrators who acknowledged the challenges that the participants faced, while expressing confidence in their abilities and providing services such as mailing in scholarship applications, were another key factor in the nurturing of their resilience. The second artic le examined how the definition of parental involvement described by the participants expands on the traditional definition of parental involvement held by many teachers (volunteering at the school, attending teacher
131 parent conferences, etc.). Despite the c onnection of parental involvement to academic success, differing perceptions between teachers and parents of the definition of the term can be connected to low academic achievement of low income Black students. Parental involvement was described as crucial to the statistically exceptional academic home based ways: instilling the values of education and hard work, setting high expectations, and enforcing strict discipline This expanded definition of parental involvement led to specific suggestions for teachers who are interested in nurturing a talk about the value of education and hard work with their children; teachers should not The third article examined the factors that scaffolded the resilience of the participants with the goal of creating a grounded theory of resilience for Black male students from high poverty schools. The three categories of protective factors identified by the participants (family support, school sup port, and external support) were organized in a framework of hardiness (a psychological term similar to resilience). This framework was composed of three characteristics of hardiness: commitment (wanting to be involved with others rather than isolated), co ntrol (developing a sense of agency over avoiding risk). This article used the framework to examine the dynamic interaction among the protective factors that arose from the data. (See Appendix D for a graphic of this interaction.) The resilience of the participants was enabled by their interactive
132 relationships with and among family members, school personnel, and community members. Without the impact of one group on anoth insistence that their children develop personal relationships with their teachers), one isolated category of protective factors may not have been effective. It was the combination and interaction of the protective factors tha t suppor resilience. As examined above, the findings from this study suggest that these students were supported by a network of relationships and that their interactions created a web that held them up and enabled them to become resilie nt. Those relationships were described in detail in Chapter 4, so the following statements provide a brief summary of the major conclusion s from the study, connect them to the literature, and provide implications for the field of resilience research. This will be followed by implications for future research and for teacher educators and practicing educators. Conclusion 1 : The teachers of these students nurtured their resilience through recognizing their abilities, challenging them, personally investing in their achievement, and making personal connections between the students they were teaching and their curriculum. The results of this research affirm the importance of a positive teacher student relationship (Brown, 2008; Nieto, 1999; Slaughter Defoe & Rub in, 2001; Smalls et al., 2007; Webb Johnson, 2002 ). While this study does not attempt to claim that it was the most important factor in developing resilience as some scholars claim (Borman & Overman 2004), it certainly played a large supportive role. Teachers helped the students learn to become autonomous in learning through a gradual release of
133 responsibility (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983). In other words, they set a high standard, expressed their bel ief that the students could reach that goal, and provided the support that students needed to reach it, but the amount of support provided decreased over time as the students became more capable. Because the students believed that their teachers cared abou t them and believed in them, they were inspired to actively participate in and to improve their own education. Their resilience was nurtured through the presence of caring relationships, high expectations, and appropriate scaffolding as suggested in previo us research (Benard, 1991). Conclusion 2 : School resilience through providing higher level classes, recognizing the challenges the students faced, expressing confidence in their abilities, and providing services suc h as assistance with college applications. While many Black students in high poverty schools face a distorted negative perception of their abilities, these students were supported through the presence of supportive administrators and through assignment to higher assertion that being in these classes provided them with opportunities that students in lower level classes did not have aligns with recent research suggesting that ability grouping harms students in lower tracks and ha s profound negat ive equity effects (Hattie, 2008 ; Mathis, 2012). The National Education Association supports the tracks where they receive a lower quality of instructio students made up 19 percent of the U.S. school population but only 10 percent of gifted classes, a slim 1 percent increase from the percentage enrolled in gifted classes in
134 2005 (U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 2006, 2012). The participants could see the disparity between their classes and those in regular tracks, and while they were grateful for their opportunities, they acknowledged that their success was tied to them in a way that made it more difficu lt to achieve success if one did not have those opportunities. The positive experiences that these students had with supportive administrators allowed them to find help where they needed it most in order to achieve academic success. Although previous resil ience research has examined how school 1991; Lugg & Boyd, 1993), further research is needed to examine how relationships with administrators can support students directly. Conclusion 3 : Par resilience through instilling the values of education and hard work, setting high expectations, and enforcing strict discipline. The findings of this study affirmed that parental involvement is crucial to academic achievement, as previous research has suggested (Epstein & Dauber, 1991; Fan & Chen, 2001; Garcia & Hasson, 2004; Hughes & Kwok, 2007; Ingram, Wolfe, & Lieberman, 2007; Knopf & Swick, 2007). The way that these parents were involved supported th e importance of expanding the traditional definition of parental involvement. success : setting clear and consistent behavioral rules, engaging in frequent and meaningful conversations, encouraging independence, and expressing high
135 expectations (Abdul Adil & Farmer, 2006; Jackson & Remillard, 2005). Further research is needed in this area t o determine how best to open communication between teachers and parents, especially where there is a cultural divide between the two (Abdul Adil & Farmer, 2006; Delpit, 1995; Desimone, 1999). Conclusion 4 : The male community members who supported these st udents, such as mentors or religious leaders, helped nurture their resilience through investing in their success, providing motivation and guidance, and instilling in them a sense of divine purpose in their lives. The presence of supportive community memb ers has been examined as a potential protective factor that fosters educational resilience (Benard, 1995). esteem and their ability to continue to be engaged and successful in sch ool. Half of the participants received mentors through Take Stock in Children, a non profit organization started in 1995 that provides mentors and college scholarships for selected low income students in Florida, and all of the participants mentioned being involved in religious programs of some type. All of the community mentors assigned to the Take Stock in Children students were male, and all of the religious leaders mentioned by these der plays an important role in the efficacy of mentorship for Black male students. However, the participants in the current study also reported finding support from female school personnel. The participants noted that their most powerful relationships were with teachers who were caring, challenging, and who believed in their ability, regardless of gender or race. In fact, many of the participants specifically described White female
136 teachers who were honest about the challenges facing Black male students and who encouraged students to overcome those challenges. In some cases, the participants saw their teachers as mentors, but many saw their role as providing support, rather than mentorship. Therefore, the role of gender in the relationships between Black mal e students and their teachers and how gender impacts those relationships would be a good area for further exploration. related to previous research on resilience and spiritua lity, which suggests that religious belief may support the development of resilience through creating positive attachment relationships, such as a relationship with God that takes the place of a relationship with a missing parent; creating social support t hrough peer relationships, counseling, and a sense of community belonging; providing guidelines for conduct and moral values; and providing personal transformational opportunities, through conversion, worship, or a reframing of past trauma (Crawford, Wrigh t, & Masten, 2006). Implications for Future Research As this research study ends, it is important to consider avenues for future areas of study that will continue to provide insights to improve the school experiences and to develop the resilience of Black male students in high poverty schools. One such avenu e that was beyond the scope of this research would be to design a study that follows a group of Black male students over an extended period of time. Interviews with students at different ages, starting in high school, would provide a more nuanced and elabo rate understanding of how they were supported in developing resilience. Longitudinal studies of resilience also provide an opportunity to examine resilient and non resilient students
137 from similar areas in order to isolate protective factors when other fact ors are similar (Cowen, et al., 1997; Werner & Smith, 1992). A second possibility could be a more traditional empirical study involving an intervention designed to increase the resilience of Black male students in high poverty schools. This intervention mi ght focus on any of the aspects from this study, including the recommendations listed below for teacher educators and practicing educators. A quantitative study examining the impact of a resilience intervention on the academic achievement and engagement of students could provide confirmation of important school related factors that make a difference in the lives of students. A third area of further research could involve the impact of family discipline on academic achievement. All of the participants ident ified the strong discipline of their family members as a crucial factor in the nurturing of their resilience. These findings more clearly related to the academic resilience of Black high school students than the factors of school support and future expectations. Cunningham and Swanson found that a direct correlation existed between high parental monitoring and the development of academic self esteem. This was also true for th ese participants, who may not have liked the strict discipline of their family members when they were younger, but could still reflect on the ways that it eventually made them able to take charge of their own lives and enact self discipline especially in t he area of academics. The structure of discipline enacted by their family members created an attitude of circumspection for the participants, and a maturity that allowed them to set up a structure of discipline for themselves once they moved away to colleg e. Further research in this area could
138 examine the factors of a strict discipline structure in the home that support students in developing self discipline once they leave the home. A fourth area for study involves a possible limitation of this study. Bec ause the number of participants was too large for an in depth qualitative analysis or ongoing interviews in the brief time period that exists for completion of a dissertation, there are many cultural and demographic factors that went unexamined. Two of the participants were Haitian, and one was biracial (Nicaraguan and African American). One participant was raised by a single father, one participant was raised by a single mother, and one participant was raised by a matriarchal family composed of a grandmoth er, mother, and aunt. How do these factors impact the overall findings of the study, and their implications for the nurturing of resilience? More in depth case studies of a smaller number of students would address this issue and provide for a clearer exami nation of how these factors impact resilience. A fifth area for future research involves another possible limitation of the study: the fact that all of the participants reported having strong family support. For students who do not have this support at h ome, can relationships with school personnel and community mentors take up the slack and support students in developing resilience? As this study suggests that the dynamic interaction among all three types of support (school, family, and external) created resilience, future studies could examine what happens when one area of that web disappears. For Felipe, when his mother died and his father was struggling financially, the support from his teachers and comm unity liaisons at his school was enough to keep
139 him going. Future studies could do an in depth analysis of if this is the case for other similar students. eals that teachers and parents may hold very different definitions of this term, although both groups would agree on its importance to academic achievement. The literature on expanding the definition of parental engagement or involvement already exists, bu t future studies on professional development designed to enable White teachers to support culturally informed parental engagement with the parents of their non White students would be beneficial. Recommendations for Teacher Educators and Practicing Educat ors While this study falls within the field of teacher education, the conclusions stated school. This section reframes the findings to suggest recommendations specifically for teacher educators and practicing educators to support them developing the resilience of their students. First, this study suggests that teachers and administrators can narrow the ce through developing personal relationships with and challenging their students. The first part of that equation must precede the second, however. Without a personal relationship, students are much less likely to want to put in the effort for a teacher wi th high expectations. As this study suggests, students must know that their teachers recognize their ability as an individual first. Administrators can support this recognition by increasing the number of students in higher level classes or by eliminating tracking altogether, as well as by creating those personal relationships with students directly.
140 Second, this study suggests that teachers and administrators can narrow the broadening their definition of parental engagement. As stated in the previous section, holding different ideas about what it means to be an involved parent can lead to a dangerous disconnect between teachers and parents. When teachers consistently reach o ut to parents and make a special effort to build a relationship with them, teachers can broaden their ideas about how parents can support student achievement, and help parents become more effective in ways that are consistent with their definitions of pare Third, this study suggests that teachers and administrators can narrow the partnering with community programs that provide mentorship for their students. School family community partnerships have been suggested as potential sources of the protective factors that foster educational resilience in children (Benard, 1995; Christenson & Sheridan, 2001; Epstei n, 1995; Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1997). In fact, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act (U.S. Department of Education, 2001) mandated the development of school family community partnerships in Title I schools. However, these programs have not been implement ed in many areas. Florida is one exception with its Take Stock in Children (TSIC) mentoring program, as described in the conclusions section above. TSIC students currently have a 92 percent high school graduation rate (Take Stock in Children, 2013). TSIC has experienced this success through connecting their program directly to middle and high schools, and schools wishing to replicate this success rate would do
141 well to use their program as a model, especially as the presence of Black men as mentors has been shown to have a positive impact on the identity development, schooling persistence, and academic achievement of low income, urban Black males (Mitchell & Stewart, 2012). However, TSIC, while partially funded through state allocation, is heavily dependent on private donations and reaches only a fraction of students who need this kind of mentoring and support. Given studies that show that adolescents who reported having a mentor at any time since the age of 14 have a greater likelihood of completing high sc hool and attending college, increased attention to and expanded support of mentoring programs is warranted (DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005). Conclusion This study contributes to the knowledge base regarding the resilience of Black male students from high pove rty schools. The findings of the study demonstrated that nurtured their resilience. The theory generated by this study offers insight into how schools, parents, and community members can contribute to that development of resilience and expands our knowledge regarding possible ways to counteract one of the biggest problems facing schools today: the achievement gap between Black and White students.
142 A PPENDIX A LITERATURE REVIEW CHART Citation Purpose of research Participants and Method Supportive Factors in Developing Resilience Borman, G. D., & Overman, L. T. (2004). Academic Resilience in Mathematics among Poor and Minority Students. The Elementary School Journal, 104(3), pp. 177 195. To identify the individual characteristics that distinguished academically successful, or resilient, elementary school students from minority and low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds from their less successful, or nonresilient, c ounterparts. Final sample was reduced to 925 students, of whom 26% were African American, 32% were Latino, and 43% were White. The parents of these children, on average, had 1991 to 1994 household incomes between $7,500 and $14,999 and had completed school ing through the eighth to twelfth grade (or GED). Longitudinal design, which tracked the mathematics progress (because minority students remain underrepresented in math) of low SES children from third through sixth grade. Method: standardized Student engagement had biggest effect size for supporting the resilience of all low SES students. A more supportive school environment was associated with all students' academic resilienc e. A safe and orderly school environment and positive teacher student relationships were the characteristics that mattered most, but low SES White students were much more likely to attend these schools than low SES Black students. We found some evidence t hat the resilience of low SES minority students was more dependent on attending an effective school (where learning time is maximized, student learning is monitored, clear school goals are created and maintained, and principal leadership is strong) than wa s the resilience of low SES White students.
143 achievement s cores in math and questionnaires from national congressional study Boykin, A. W., & Noguera, P. (2011). Creating the opportunity to learn: moving from research to practice to close the achievement gap. Alexandria, Va: ASCD. Evidence based framework of research on the achievement gap, answering three questions: Does the achievement gap narrow under a certain condition, which contrasts with conditions under which the gap does not narrow? Do students in general seem to benefit from this practice? Do lower performing stu dents benefit comparatively more from this practice than high performing students? Literature review 1. Most connected to student achivement: student engagement eagerness to learn, and attentiveness) 2. Adaptive learning postures : beliefs about learning that will promote positive academic outcomes self efficacy self regulated learning incremental ability belief 3. Asset exchanges that build on the assets learners for (p. 69)
144 Cunningham, M., & Swanson, D. P. (2010). Educational Resilience in African American Adolescents. The Journal of Negro Education, 79(4), 473 487. The purpose of this article was to examine factors within the school conte xt that facilitate educational resilience among African American high school students. 206 Black high school students (135 female, 71 male) 46% in single parent households family member is employed, income is at or below poverty line 4 3.6% of the mothers completed high school or some college 68% of mothers had a paid job during the Method: surveys completed in school academic self support (defined as support from teachers, administrators, or club/sports coaches), high parental monitoring *positive correlation between mother's work history and school support in developing academic self esteem environment in which education is not only valued but is part events, school is a safe place where they can focus on enhancing existing areas of academic ability and where competence can
145 Morales, E. (2008). Exceptional Female Students of Color: Academic Resilience and Gender in Higher Education. Innovative Higher Education, 33 (3), 197 213. What significant differences if any, exist in the academic resilience processes of high achieving low socioeconomic male and female college students of color; and as a result, what can be concluded about perspectives and processes that are unique to females? For this study, was set as a minimum of 75% of one gender reporting that a given phenomenon was essential to their success with fewer than 50% of the other gender reporting the same phenomenon. 50 college undergraduate participants attending PWIs: 31 were female and 19 were male, with 30 self identifying as African American and 20 as Hispanic. Each student had parents with limited educational backgrounds (high school graduates or below) 52% from single parent homes Each student had completed a minimum of 30 college credits and had a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (using a four point scale). Phenomenological study utilizing in depth interviews three 90 minute interviews with each participant 77% of females reported having caretaker expectations and r esponsibilities that affected their schoolwork and dealt with that in two ways: by doing more to get both the caretaker expectations and academic expectations done, or by dismissing the expectations 93% of females had specific post college professional goa ls along with realization of how what they were doing academically would help them reach those goals that the female participants faced, it is logical that they may internalize the belief that their success woul d require more energy and effort than that of the males. Therefore, by necessity, the focus and drive to succeed Significant protective factor: caring school personnel at K 12 and college particular interest in the participants and helps guide them in a way that contributes significantly to their For males, 87% of those mentors were also male, making having a mentor of the same gender a significant positive factor
146 M o rales, E. E. (2010). Linking Strengths: Identifying and Exploring Protective Factor Clusters in Academically Resilient Low Socioeconomic Urban Students of Color. Roeper Review, 32 (3), 164 175. The focus is on uncovering and exploring how key protective fac tors may have worked together at various stages to mitigate the negative effects of risk factors. 50 academically resilient low socioeconomic students of color 50 college undergraduate participants attending PWIs: 31 were female and 19 were male, with 30 s elf identifying as African American and 20 as Hispanic. Each student had parents with limited educational backgrounds (high school graduates or below) 52% from single parent homes Each student had completed a minimum of 30 college credits and had a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (using a four point scale). Phenomenological study utilizing in depth interviews three 90 minute interviews with each participant Two distinct clusters of protective factors arose from the data. These consisted of group s of protective factors that were identified as working in an interrelated and supplemental fashion by a minimum of 65% of the participants. Skillful Mentoring for Future Success (m ove up in social class; 94%), (b) caring school personnel (K 12 = 90%, college = 72%), (c) sense of obligation strong future orientation (86%): emphasizing prospective goals over immediate gratification The desire to class jump was often encouraged by academic mentors who cultural translators literally and figuratively translating the academic language into words and ideas that the students could under would convi nce students that success but instead would allow for them to be in a position of supporting their communities. or subconsciously, do things to thwart their success in order keep t hemselves from leaving their peer group and having
147 to join the dominant majority. For the resilient students in this study, reports of conscious self sabotage were relatively rare (38% of males and 12% of Cluster 2. Pride, Debt, Effort and Success: Becoming Someone The protective factors are (a) strong work ethic (90%), (b) persistence (94%), (c) high self esteem (92%), (d) internal locus of control (92%), (e) attendance at out of zone school (76%), (f) high parental expectations suppor ted by words and actions (80%), and (g) mother modeling strong work ethic (74%). by words and actions refer not to commentary that they wanted their children to do well in school but rathe r to specific and explicit assertions about, and commitments to, educational goals and ambitions, as well as actions that gave weight to their words. Perhaps the most stark and common example of the value of these parental actions in support of education w and their proactivity in helping them avoid their local zone schools and helping them attend out of zone
148 specialized or Catholic schools. All of the participants who did attend nonzone schools ide ntified attendance at these schools as a key protective factor. When expectations and support, it was often in regard to facilitation of their attendance th eir histories and often felt that their academic achievement somehow addressed and mitigated the racist transgressions characterizing American history by defying stereotypes and Peck, S.C., Roeser, R.W., Zarrett, N., & Eccles, J.S. (2008). Exploring the Roles of Extracurricular Activity Quantity and Quality in the Educational Resilience of Vulnerable Adolescents: Variable and Pattern Centered Approaches. Journal of Social Issues, 64 (1), 135 This study explores the extent to which patterns (quality) of extracurricular activity involvement, independent of the amount (quantity) of activity involvement, contribute to the unexpectedly positive educational attainments of adolescents who are otherwise at risk for dropping completely out of formal educational systems. Used lifespace configurations : portrait of personal and 520 students: 49% female, 60% Black longitudinal study, data taken from end of 8 th /beg. of 9 th grade, end of 11 th grade, 1 year after HS graduation, and 3 years after HS graduation Method: youth and caregivers (usually mothers) completed 2 interviews and 1 survey (youth completed 2 surveys) 50% of youth were characterized by educationally vulnerable lifespace configurations Black males tend to be overrepresented within that group (57%) amount of activity involvement that increases such a probability above the subgroup base rate of 56% as reflecting pathway characterized by a greater than average chance of attending 43) Seventy percent of vulnerable youth whose 11th grade positive activity profile was marked by high levels of both school and community sports
149 156. social risks and assets replace the focus on quantity with a focus on only quality; rather, we consider s imultaneously how both (a) the amount of time vulnerable youth spend engaged in positive activities and (b) the pattern of time use across these activities relate to educational pathways into adulthood. Specifically, we investigate whether vulnerable adole participation more than once a week in any type of sufficient to explain their educational resilience or whether some types or patterns of relatively frequent positive activity involvement are more 138) activity went on to college. Eighty six percent of vulnerable youth whose 11 th grade activity profile was marke d by high levels of engagement in sports and community based clubs, homework, reading, chores, school clubs, volunteer services, and hanging out with friends went on to college. Eighty three percent of those engaged in sports and school clubs alone went on to college. What defines these activities? Appropriate structure, positive social norms, and opportunities for skill building (Eccles and Gootman, 2002) more detailed analysis of the precise nature of the positive features of these activity settings and the mechanisms by which these features (a) are produced by the social agents responsible for managing these settings and (b) influence the education related motives, skills, and knowledge that are central to keeping vulnerable youth on track
150 Wasonga, T., Christman, D.E., & Kilmer, L. (2003). Ethnicity, gender and age: Predicting resilience and academic achievement among urban high school students. American Secondary Education, 32 (1), 62 74. Are there significant differences in academic achievement by ethnicity, gender, or age? What factors predicted resilience among urban high school students by ethnicity, gender and age? What factors predicted aca demic achievement among urban high school students by ethnicity, gender and age? 480 ninth and twelfth grade students Method: 56 item questionnaire Eleven protective and resilience factors included in the analysis were home caring relations, home high expe ctations, home meaningful participation, peer caring relations, peer high expectations, school caring relations, school high expectations, school meaningful participation, community caring relations, community high expectations and community meaningful par ticipation. Among Black/African American students, a model with two variables Home Meaningful Participation, and Home High Expectations, explaining 53.3% of the variance predicting resilience was selected. Among Black/African American students, support in terms of Peer Caring Relations was negatively and significantly related to academic achievement while Home High Expectations was positively and significantly associated with academic achievement. The model explained 36.1% of the variance.
151 APPENDIX B SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUE STIONS 1. many other students from your neighborhood or high that? 2. Tell me about what your experiences were like in sch ool. a. What kind of student were you? b. What was it like being a student there? (probe for school characteristics) What are some key memories that stand out to you as important? c. In what kind of academic track were you? ( regular, remedial, honors) How did you feel about your track placement? d. Were you involved in extracurricular activities? If so, which activities? What are some key memories that stand out to you from extra curricular activities? e. What was your peer group like? What are some key memories that st and out to you about your group of friends? f. what does it mean to be connected? What made you feel connected? g. Can you think of a teacher in your middle or high school who was really good at supporting you aca demically? What did she/he do that was only helpful with you, or was she/he helpful with many Black students? How do you know? What made this teacher so good? 3. Did you always know that going to college is what you would do after high school? If yes, how did you know this? If not, when and how did you decide that you were going go to college? Probes: am smart. I could Tell m e about that. Are there any individuals who influenced your decision to go to college? ( probe about family, school, friends, other adults in the community ) What experiences specifically influenced your decision to go to college? o Probe for experiences in and out of school o Probe specifically for experiences in high school 4. Do you feel that you were prepared for college? Why or why not? a. Tell me about an experience you had that you think really helped you be prepared for college. Any others?
152 b. Were there experiences that you felt were not helpful? Can you give me some examples? 5. Did your parents or other family members play a role in your path to college? Tell me about that. Can you share any specific memories that help me understand ole in your life? 6. Other than your parents or whoever raised you, do you have a mentor who you go to for support and guidance (explain: someone has more experience than you and who as taken a special interest in you, may be a teacher, a relative, a neighbo r, or someone else whom you look up to for support or guidance)? Tell me about that person and the role he/she plays in your life. Do you have any specific memories about things you did/do with that person? 7. As Black students from high poverty high school s at a major university, you may 8. What do you think teachers did that got you to a place where you could be successful in college? Are these factors important for all students/just Black students/just for you? Are there more things teachers could have done to support students like you? 9. Do you know any Black students from your neighborhood who were just as smart as your path been different?) 10. mentioned each of the following factors as important in your path to success: [list them]. Are some of these more important than others? Which ones and why? 11. What else should I ask you if I want to understand your background and your journey to UF?
153 APPENDIX C FINAL CATEGORIES WIT H INITIAL CODES Category: Family Support (FS) Category: School Support (SS) Category: External Support (ES) Being part of a community mentoring program Having a mentor who could share information that pa rents could not Being part of a religious organization Having a supportive school administrator Having a challenging teacher l Being tracked into a gifted or honors program Having parents who valued education Having parents with high expectations Having a parent who enforced strict discipline Knowing that your parents believed in you Having parents who gave responsibility Having parents who valued hard work
154 APPENDIX D DYNAMIC RELATIONSHIP DIAGRAM
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171 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lauren Tripp degree in j ournalism from the University of Florida in 2002, e ducation from the University of Florida in 2005, and now her Ph.D. in curriculum and i nstruction from the Uni versity of Florida in 2013. She taught high school En glish and t heatre for three years in Baltimore County Maryland before returning to school for her doctorate. Those years in the public high school classroom created a passion for educational equity tha t has been the driving force for her research and work ever since.