Voices of Promise: Understanding African American Student Academic and Social Perceptions of Experiences in Military Base Schools

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Title: Voices of Promise: Understanding African American Student Academic and Social Perceptions of Experiences in Military Base Schools
Author: Martin-McCoy, Audrey K.
Advisors: Dr. Paul Bitting, Committee Member
Dr. Susan Bracken, Committee Member
Dr. Andy Overstreet, Committee Member
Dr. Lance D. Fusarelli, Committee Chair
Abstract: ABSTRACT MARTIN-MCCOY, AUDREY K. Voices of Promise: Understanding African American Student Academic and Social Perceptions of Experiences in Military Base Schools. (Under the direction of Dr. Lance D. Fusarelli). The establishment of the Department of Defense domestic dependent elementary and secondary schools was provided by Congress under 10 U.S.C. 2164 (a) (1) (2). This legislation allowed for the construction of schools to educate the children of armed service personnel and civilian employees for the federal government residing on domestic military bases. Today, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) is a network of elementary and secondary schools that serve military dependents worldwide. The research literature states that the average academic performance of students in military base schools is high compared to the performance of minority students, particularly African American students and tends to be among the highest in the nation as measured by standardized test data. The purpose of this qualitative research study is to describe the African American students’ perceptions of experiences in military base schools. The goal of this qualitative study is to understand the academic/classroom experiences of African American students through their perceptions of the learning environment in an effort to determine the characteristics that contribute to the positive learning outcomes and school success that have been documented in the research. The research describes the lived experiences of individual students while revealing common elements of experiences across the group of students. It also attempts to capture their perceptions of the educational quality of schools military base sponsored schools. The site selected for this study is a domestic military base school system located in the southeastern part of the United States. Eleven African American students ages fourteen through eighteen participated in this study. Data was collected from the participants by way of a student biographical activity, a semi-structured individual interview, and a focus group interview to gain a clearer understanding of how these students perceived their academic and social experiences. Meaning in the responses was derived by initially examining each narrative independently and subsequently focusing on similarities of experiences. Data is displayed through the use of direct quotes from the participants, capturing the voice of the student to structure meaning from the individual’s lived experience. Results center on themes that emerged from the data surrounding the academic and social perceptions and experiences of these students. Participants reported that they perceived their academic and social experiences in military base schools to be more favorable as compared to experiences in public schools. The participants also reported to perceive that military base school teachers demonstrated more caring, affective behaviors than public school teachers. Participants perceived from their experiences that military base school attendance had a positive impact on their personal performance in terms of school quality indicators (such as student pass/fail rates, standardized test scores, graduation and college preparation) and offered challenging opportunities to prepare them for the future.
Date: 2010-04-20
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Educational Research and Policy Analysis
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/6235

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