A comprehensive thirty-four year longitudinal study of the academic progress and academic school experiences of boys in a highly selective secondary school population

Rodney Vern De Jarnett, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Boys are not succeeding in schools as well as girls. While research supports this and proposes various solutions, current literature implies that this is not the trend for selective student populations. This study analyzes the academic achievement of boys in a highly selective secondary school, across a wide range of academic indicators over a thirty-four year time period and contextualizes these findings by looking at what boys say about their academic experiences using data gathered from interviews, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews with matched pairs of academically successful and unsuccessful boys at the bottom of the lowest quartile. This study reveals that these boys earn, on average, a lower grade point average than the girls and populate the larger percentage of the lowest quartiles. African American, Hispanic, and poorer boys populate the lowest quartile significantly more than other groups. Even though all boys in the study have demonstrated aptitude and proven their academic success prior to high school, they have steadily performed at increasingly lower levels over the four decades of this study, populating larger percentages of the lowest quartile in every academic discipline and for every year enrolled in the school. Once in the lowest quartile, a boy is most likely to graduate in the lowest quartile. ^ Because of the quality of the school and the ability of the boys, even these lower quartile boys attend our nation's best colleges, but will they do so if this trend continues? This study shows that boys in the lowest quartile lack the necessary organizational and study skills to be successful academically, skills these boys did not need to succeed in their elementary and middle schools. This study discusses the implications for current literature, the school, and future research. Providing boys with the necessary strategies and skills to achieve in their academic work is explored as are strategies for improving the academic achievement for boys of difference. ^

Subject Area

Education, Secondary

Recommended Citation

Rodney Vern De Jarnett, "A comprehensive thirty-four year longitudinal study of the academic progress and academic school experiences of boys in a highly selective secondary school population" (January 1, 2006). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3227716.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3227716

Share

COinS