Perceptions of achieving black pupils : factors contributing to success
This thesis explores factors supporting the achievement of black pupils of African and African-Caribbean backgrounds living in the United Kingdom. It analyses their perception of factors that impact on their performance and achievement. There is a discussion on the nature and measurement of achievement and it is argued that achievements that are most valued are those based on performance in external examinations. Key elements of the findings are that a number of factors within and out of school seem to affect achievement of black pupils: teachers' perception and expectation, pupils' attitude, behaviour and motivation. Factors both within and out of school include peer affiliation and pupils' self-perception. Outside school factors significant in achievement are family values, attitudes, relationship to their heritage, religious beliefs and values. Highlighted in this thesis is the racialised nature of the society in which black pupils are perceived, assessed and treated. They therefore have to employ a number of strategies within school to win and retain the favour of their teachers who sometimes bring negative views of black people to their interaction in the classroom. Highlighted also in the research is that achieving black pupils can impact positively on their teachers' perception of them by adopting overtly pro-school and pro-teacher attitudes and approaches. Finally, family members, especially parents, play positive roles in the performance of their children in school, often reducing the perceived disadvantages of society and schools. The conclusions drawn from this analysis confirm the importance of parents and community in the achievement of pupils but emphasise the areas that school can address in the achievement of black pupils.