Gender Differences in the Educational Expectations of African American Youth.

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Gender Differences in the Educational Expectations of African American Youth.

Despite considerable gains in the African American population over the past 30 years, males have made less progress than females, particularly with respect to higher education. At Excel High School, gender education achievement gaps exist amongst all ethnicities, however the gap between girls and boys widens significantly when looking particularly at African American students. According to the 2008-2009 data information for Excel High School (CDE 2009), it is calculated that the graduation rate is around 47.3% and that the 4-year dropout rate is around 44.4%. The data information showed that Excel High School is composed of 85.9% African American students and 1.0% White students.

In 2008-2009 there were a total of 35 graduates at Excel High School, 29 of them where African American. Of the 29 African Americans that graduated 23 of them were female and only 6 were male. Thus 79.3% of African American graduates at Excel High school were female. Research shows that African Americans across California have the highest high school drop out rate with 39.6% as well as the lowest graduation rate of 59.6%. There is increasing divergence in the academic outcomes of African American males and females. By most accounts, males are falling behind their female peers educationally as African American females are graduating from high schools at higher rates and are going on to college and graduate school in greater numbers.

My research question asks; “What is/are the cause(s) for the significant difference in graduation rates between African American woman and men?” It is important that we observe schools like Excel High in order to gain a better understanding of what the significant factor(s) are that contribute(s) to the separation between African American females and males. I will be analyzing research that pertains to this subject and using it to enhance my observations at Excel High School. The following literature gives us an insight into the determinant factors that either help or disable the success of African American female and male students.

Hayes and Cunningham's (2006) study investigated the race related barriers for African American males pursuing High School. They found that another way to begin intervention with African American males is to provide teachers with better training for encouraging academic excellence among their African American male students. The support of parents is also essential in increasing the number of African American males in higher education. Parents need to encourage their children to pursue their ambitions. Hayes and Cunningham (2003) both suggest that parent involvement and teacher support both contribute to achievement throughout the school experiences. Hayes and Cunningham's conclusions are similar to Wood's (2007) position that examined gender differences in the educational expectations of African American youth and their parents.

Wood (2007) concludes that male youth would hold lower expectations for their future educational attainment than females, and that parents would hold lower expectation for the future attainment of sons than for that of daughters. Parental expectations have been shown to predict the self-expectations of African American youth, and because parents' expectations for boys are seen to be less optimistic than those for girls. Wood (2007) predicted that the gender difference in African American youths' expectations would be caused by the parental expectations. These predictions explain why, amongst African Americans, both youth and parents endorse the stereotype that males are less competent in academic fields than females (Wood et al., 2006). Wood (2007) explains the possible gender differences in teachers' expectations for the future attainment of their African American students. Teachers tend to show more significant signs of prejudice towards their African American male students...
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