Black/African American Students' Perceptions of Mathematical Success and Success Factors at a Community College
Marshall, Alycia Ana
Fries-Britt, Sharon L.
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this dissertation was to examine Black/African American students' perception of mathematical success and the various factors that they perceived to attribute to this success within a community college setting. The research questions guiding this study were: 1. How do mathematically successful, Black/African American students define mathematical success? 2. What are the factors (e.g., sociocultural, institutional, personal and disciplinary) that mathematically successful Black/African American students identify as directly impacting their mathematical success within a community college environment? 3. What are Black/African American students' perceptions of the relationship between these factors (e.g., sociocultural, institutional, personal and disciplinary) and their individual mathematical success at the community college level? The study sought to understand a variety of success factors including sociocultural, institutional, personal, and disciplinary factors, as the students perceived them to impact their mathematical success at the community college level. Through qualitative methods and a case study design, the current study has gained insight into the mathematics education of six, high-achieving African American students at the community college level. Data has been collected through individual and focus group interviews with African American students who have successfully completed several mathematics courses (e.g., Calculus I, Calculus II, etc.) at a predominantly White, community college in the Mid-Atlantic region of Maryland. Interview data from the six participants was collected, transcribed, and analyzed drawing from sociocultural perspectives. Findings indicated that these students perceived various disciplinary, personal, and sociocultural support factors to directly impact their mathematical success at the community college level. Throughout several identified success factors, major findings included an epic of caring conveyed to students through social interactions with others and a perceived relationship between mathematical success and liking mathematics as a discipline. The results of this study should help to inform the current understanding of African American success and achievement in the area of collegiate mathematics. Various implications for practice, policy, and research in this area are also presented.