This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An exploratory study of the factors associated with the mathematics achievement of six tenth grade African American students




Westbrook, Sarah

Type of Degree



Curriculum and Teaching


Using observations and interviews, six African American students were followed through their tenth grade year in mathematics class. All of the students were enrolled in regular, college preparatory geometry. An assessment of the factors affecting the mathematics achievement of these students also included interviews with teachers and parents. These students’ success in mathematics was found to be linked to self-confidence, self-motivation, parental influence and educational level, school mathematics placement and assessment practices, teacher support and expectations, and classroom procedures and practices. Furthermore the issue of dysconscious racism at the school level and its effects on students’ mathematics achievement was addressed in this study. Recommendations which resulted from this study are focused on empowering, instead of filtering out African American students through mathematics instruction. With a goal of challenging the existing status quo of who is successful in mathematics and changing current practices which adversely affect African American students’ success in mathematics, teacher and institutional practices must be addressed.