Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Shelley Jallow

Second Supervisor

Hasna Muhammad


Mathematics achievement disparities between Black students and their White peers have been emphasized in research for decades. There is limited research on highachieving Black students in mathematics. This research study replicates and expands on the work of Howard (2008) who examined the perspectives of predominantly White developmental college students who experienced the phenomenon of shifting from unsuccessful to successful mathematics achievement, to include the perspectives of Black high school students who experienced the same phenomenon. Eleven participants who scored proficient (80 or higher) on their Algebra I state examination in ninth grade despite a history of underachievement in mathematics shared their perspectives. The research data was captured through in-depth semi-structured interviews and a Mindset Assessment Profile (MAP) survey. Findings indicate participants primarily attributed negative experiences in the learning environment, namely, the classroom disciplinary climate and limited teacher effectiveness to their unsuccessful mathematics achievement. Self-study was the primary strategy attributed by the participants which fostered their shift to successful achievement and scoring proficient in mathematics. Findings also reveal the participants’ mindset towards learning mathematics was another contributing factor. Coursework sequencing preferences was an unexpected finding. Recommendations based on the results of this study include increasing mathematics learning time, establishing equitable policies for early algebra access, and ongoing professional development on fostering mathematics proficiency achievement for Black students and their peers. Future research suggestions include examining whether coursework sequencing preferences influence student achievement outcomes and expanding this study to include other minority groups, such as Hispanic students, who are achieving mathematical proficiency.

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