Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instr and Curr Leadership


Secondary Education

Committee Chair

Celia Anderson

Committee Member

Katherine Abraham

Committee Member

Angiline Powell

Committee Member

Allen Seed


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the interconnectedness of the environment, human development, and the factors that influence students' academic achievement in a homogeneous ability grouped mathematics classroom. The study consisted of four African American urban high school juniors, 2 male and 2 female. During the 12 week data collection period, the participants engaged in a focus group interview, photo elicited interview, and a member check interview. The interviews were recorded and later transcribed, analyzed, and coded for codes, categories, and emerging themes. In order to obtain an in-depth understanding of the interconnectedness of students enrolled in homogeneous ability grouped mathematics classes and the environmental factors that influence their academic performance, I asked the following question: 1) Using Bronfenbrenner's Ecology of Human Development, in what ways do students' microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem influence their academic achievement in a homogeneous ability grouped mathematics class? After integrating and analyzing the data, seven themes emerged as factors influencing students' S.U.C.C.E.S.S.: 1)School Structure; 2)Un/Accountable; 3) Classmates/Peers; 4) Custodian/Caregiver; 5) Environment/Neighborhood; 6) Support; and 7) Self-Concept/Self-Perception. There are several significant associations between the individuals' ecology of human development and their academic achievement in a homogeneous ability grouped mathematics class. By giving students a voice, these associations can be identified, understood, and ultimately used to create reform geared towards closing the achievement gap in mathematics.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.