Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Daryl G. Smith

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Linda M. Perkins

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David E. Drew

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Osie Leon Wood, Jr.


African American youth, academic success, family, students

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Education


One of the most consistently reported challenges in the education literature is the underachievement of African American males at all levels of the education pipeline - from elementary and secondary schools through to postsecondary education. African American boys are falling behind and they are falling behind early. This research focuses on resources within the home environment that are available to support the educational achievement of African American boys. There are a number of mechanisms through which parental involvement in the home and at school may promote academic success that are being examined: parental involvement in school activities, expectations that parents share with their sons and for which they hold them accountable, and parental trust and support for both their sons and their sons' schools.

This research sampled families of African American boys in the eighth grade attending Middle Schools in the North Long Beach area of Southern California. It employed a mixed methods approach in using both questionnaires and surveys for collecting data. Thirty two parents were selected at random and completed questionnaires about attitudes and behaviors related to the home environment that impact their sons' educations. An additional group of randomly selected parents were personally interviewed to gain more in-depth responses.

The sample was then divided into two groups according to the STAR Math scores attained by eighth grade boys in the families responding. This measure was used as an indicator of academic success because the STAR test score determines the Math class level for children in the local school district - with those scoring above 325 advancing to Geometry and those scoring below 325 taking lower level classes. The results of the questionnaires and interviews indicate an overall relationship in both groups showing trust and high expectations as being very important in fostering academic success in African American boys in the eighth grade. The consistency of positive home structural factors contributed to the academic success of boys in the families studied in spite of negative factors such as economic deprivation, parental unemployment, previous parental incarceration and lack of transportation.