Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Brett E Blake

Second Advisor

Shirley R Steinberg


In the Black community, there is a paradox about how education is a key to success and a way out of a person’s unfortunate socioeconomic situation (Mickelson, 1990). Over time, Black adolescents have continuously performed low academically (NAEP, 2019). According to the Nation’s Report Card (2019), when viewed by racial/ethnic groups, the percentages of students performing at or above Proficient ranged from 18% for Black students to 46% for white students (NAEP, 2019). While holding such a vital belief in the “power of an education” (focusing mainly on literacy as reading), the current study seeks to understand what factors play a part in these adolescents’ attitudes between their beliefs and actual classroom performance (Mickelson, 1990). Areas of concern would be adolescents’ negative attitudes, which we define as a negative attitude as a disposition, feeling, or manner that is not productive, willing, or hopeful, and how it shapes academic performance. Curriculums are not set up for the success of Black students. Black students are not resonating with the lessons and literature that are present in the classrooms. We will find out what Black adolescents think they need for them to have a positive attitude in order to change the negative stereotype of them being low performers. The current study examined how adolescents’ attitudes, either positive or negative, had a definite impact because of the different factors that affect the lives of adolescence.

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