The Correlation Between School Membership And Student Performance Of African American Males In Middle School

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Education and Urban Studies


Doctor of Education

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The academic achievement and outcomes of African American males have been a major focus of educational reformers and policy makers for the last several decades. The literature has almost primarily focused on African American males' school experiences and performance in grades K-5 or in grades 9-12, neglecting the critical middle school years and the psychosocial factors that affect student performance. Utilizing Bronfenbrenner's bio-ecological systems theory and Adler's theory of belongingness this quantitative study investigates if there is a correlation between school membership and student performance (attendance, grade point average and suspension) of African American males in middle school. A sample of 171, 7th and 8th grade African American males were surveyed using the Psychological Sense of School Membership (PSSM) scale. The findings of the research indicated that school membership was highly correlated with grade point average. The PSSM also provided meaningful patterns which uncovered that grade point average and other data sources were highly correlated and associated with caring relationships with teachers in the school environment for African American middle school males in this study. The findings offer insight into the importance of teachers in the ecological system of school, the role of grade point average as a key indicator of a sense of school membership and school membership as a an antecedent to positive student performance for African American males in middle school. The results, implications for practice, and expansion of current research and future research are discussed.