The Impact of Teacher Perceptions and Practices on the Quality of Transitional Experiences for African-american Males Entering High School

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Janice Fournillier, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

James Kahrs, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Hershel Robinson, Jr., Ed.D.


The dilemma of African-American male achievement continues to challenge schools systems in America. In light of this challenge, African-American males pose the greatest risk of not succeeding in high school. Differences in learning styles, behavior patterns and environmental influences further contribute to the problem. Academic, behavioral, and social factors come into play during the transition, and difficulties in these areas are more pronounced for African-American males. Teacher perceptions of African-American males in the midst of these issues significantly impact opportunity for success with this group. This qualitative study examined how teacher perceptions and practices impact the quality of transitional experiences for African-American males entering high school. Major areas of inquiry were teacher perceptions of African-American males and teacher perceptions of the impact of practices during the high school transition. Participatory Action Research was the methodology used in the study. Data collected took the form of individual interviews and collaborative sessions during the implementation of a Summer Bridge transitional program. These data were analyzed and organized using Nvivo qualitative software. Results from the study revealed biases and perceptions of African-Amercian males and the programming for which teachers were responsible. These sentiments were primarily the result of experiences and not significantly rooted in formal knowledge teachers obtained through training before and during their careers. Teachers witnessed differences in behavior and the need for a different approach with African-American males through interactions over time and through the Summer Bridge program. Results revealed a unit of findings best suited to work together to improve outcomes. These findings covered the topics of relationships, teacher attitudes, characteristics of African-American males, curriculum design, and training. Participants benefitted from reflecting on their unique experiences in a trusted and guided setting, as previous collaborations offered limited time to do so. In order to maximize potential outcomes for this group of students, it is recommended that findings under the aforementioned topics be interwoven to better prepare teachers to promote the educational success of African-American males.

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