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Climbing the Academic Achievement Ladder: Promoting the Success of Black Males

November 13, 2010
Princeton, N.J.


Much has been written and spoken over the past several years about Black males and their academic achievement and motivation. The consensus is that as a group, Black male students have much ground to cover in order to catch up and close gaps with every other population group in the nation.

According to the Schott Foundation's 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males (2010), only 47 percent of Black males graduate from high school. In New York, the graduation rate for Black males is 25 percent compared to 68 percent for White males — a gap of 43 percentage points. In New Jersey, the Black male graduation rate is 69 percent, while the White male graduation rate is 90 percent — a gap of 21 percentage points.

Several factors contributing to the achievement of Black males have been investigated and documented, and many successful initiatives have been conducted to address the challenges. Yet the achievement challenges persist, as do efforts to reverse the trends.

Educational Testing Service (ETS) convened a conference in Princeton at the Chauncey Conference Center on November 13, 2010, to recognize the valuable research and programs on Black male achievement and to broaden the attention toward continuing progress. ETS, the New Jersey Department of Education, the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at NYU Steinhardt and the Center for Effective School Practices at Rutgers University sponsored this conference. The focus of this conference was on increasing student effort and motivation, and encouraging Black males to strive toward high academic performance and success.

Conference speakers and participants exchanged ideas and agreed upon recommendations for research as well as policy and program solutions. The conference addressed the following issues:

  • academic effort inside and outside of school
  • peer and adult interactions, relationships and influence
  • educational and career expectations and outcomes
  • types of recognition, incentives and rewards that may encourage Black male students to increase their effort and improve their academic achievement

By addressing these topics, the conference contributed to increasing the knowledge, attention and support of efforts to improve Black males' pursuit of excellence in education.

Our Co-convenors:

New Jersey Department of Education
Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at NYU Steinhardt
Center for Effective School Practices at Rutgers University


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