Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Lea A. Hubbard, Ph.D.; Christopher B. Newman, Ph.D.; Heather Lattimer, Ph.D.


African American males, after school, mathematics, middle school, Out of School Time (OST), secondary education


Despite increases in overall academic achievement, African American males continue to struggle in the area of mathematics. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicates that eighth grade African American males had the lowest levels of mathematics success of all subgroups in 2013, with only 13% performing at or above the proficient performance level in math. An approach to increasing the academic achievement of African American males has been to provide extended learning time beyond the typical secondary education experience. After school programs are one such example. Many studies indicate that after school programs have had some positive effects on math achievement. However, missing from the literature are qualitative studies that examine the impact of after school programs specifically on math achievement for African American males from the perspectives of the students and teachers involved in the programs. This qualitative study explores the experiences and perceptions of five African American male middle school students and three math teachers who tutor in an after school program at one middle school in southern California. The purpose of the study was to understand, from their perspective, the factors that were internal and external to the after school program that supported or challenged math achievement. Document analysis, observations of students’ regular math class and after school class, and participant interviews revealed the influence that teachers, pedagogy, attendance, peers and educational structure had on student engagement and students’ intrinsic motivation to learn math. This study exposes the complexity of raising math achievement even when students are given a second chance. It has important implications for educators, school program directors and school administrators who are engaged in efforts to increase the math achievement of African American male students.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies