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A Descriptive Study of Pre-service Teachers' Perceptions of African American Students' Ability to Achieve in Mathematics and Science
Abstract and Figures
At least since 1977, African Americans have been underrepresented in science related careers. Although researchers have identified a number of factors which correlate with students' career decisions, they have failed to explain how these factors are related to race. Moreover, this body of research has failed to consider the role of mathematics and science teachers' perceptions of African-American students. This study identifies and describes perceptions held by 49 pre-service mathematics and science teachers about mathematics and science ability of African-American students. Data were collected by means of a three-part, open-ended questionnaire. Findings indicate that over one-third of pre-service teachers are unaware that African Americans achieve below their peers in mathematics and science; they overwhelmingly place culpability for African-American students' achievement with the students and their communities; and they are largely unable to identify culturally relevant teaching strategies to address African-American students' achievement.
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