Home > Free Essays > Education > Education Issues > Effects of an Intervention Program for at-Risk Males
100 min
Cite This

Effects of an Intervention Program for at-Risk Males Dissertation

StarStarStarStarStar

Abstract

The main objective of this study is to examine the effects of an intervention program for at-risk high school males. There are many hurdles in today’s society that the at-risk students are exposed to. The study explored the risk factors that make a child to be rendered at-risk. Some of the risk factors that were explored in the study included: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. These risk factors were used to explain the independent variables to predict the dependent variable, which was the intervention program with two levels: participation in the program and no participation in the program. The variables were analyzed using correlation and regression analysis. A T-test was also done.

The total population composed of 242 students who took part in the survey. All the students who participated were considered to be at-risk. The results revealed that the variables predicted the GPA scores, even though the variance of the GPA varied from one variable to another. Motivation of the students and the effects of peer pressure emerged to be the top two predictors of GPA. The study provided a detailed data analysis and provided recommendations for future researchers.

Inroduction

Background to the study

Various researchers have pointed out that many teachers have handled in-risk males in the past. These students are prone to academic failure. These students are normally slow-learners. The school management has an uphill task of bridging the academic gap between at-risk males and the other students (Conrath, 1994, p. 3). The at-risk males normally lag behind the rest of the students and have to struggle to be at par with the rest. It is because of this that school administrators have intervened by setting up a different academic environment to accommodate the at-risk males (Bandura, 1977, p. 26; Coleman, 1987, p. 35; Margolis & McCabe, 2004, p. 244; McMillan & Reed, 1993, p. 139). This academic environment is aimed at spurring the academic success of the students.

At risk students normally look up to responsible adults who can care for them and believe in them. This will help them in building their self-confidence and self-esteem. In addition to that, the at-risk males will adopt a sense of responsibility (Conrath, 1994, p. 3). The most important learning aspects for the at-risk males are: gaining the aspect of self-reliance, fitting into the culture, and being responsible young adults (Appelstein, 1998, p. 46). It is a slow process, meaning that it takes quite some times before these changes are exhibited by the at-risk males. However, the end the end justifies the means.

The existence of at-risk males is a problem that is not expected to end in the near future; this challenge is perennial in today’s schools. The youths are the most affected and they respond differently to their challenges. It can also be noted that many schools are still lagging behind in terms of setting up the programs to accommodate the at-risk males. Therefore, this has led to a big number of schools hosting a large population of at-risk males. There are various risk factors that have contributed to this. These factors include: a higher population of poor students, low achieving students, poor school attendance, continuous poor grades, and socioeconomic challenges (Roderick, 1993, p. 41). The youth who have been exposed to these risk factors are most likely to drop out of school earlier than the rest of the students. On the contrary, some scholars have also pointed out to the fact that the exposure to these factors can also help the at-risk males to overcome their challenges (Lundenberg, 1999, p. 9).

However, there are studies that have pointed out that there is no direct relationship between a student being at-risk and the academic performance in school. This means that there are other students who are classified as ‘at-risk’ but they still end up dropping out of school. On the other hand, all at-risk males do not perform dismally. Schools should, therefore, come up with strategies to help these students to bounce back and redeem their prowess. It is also mandatory for the school management to understand how the school experiences of the youth influence their school’s academic progress (Roderick, 1993, p. 41).

The resilience of the youth can be challenged by the mode of management of the school, as well as the general atmosphere of the school (Alspaugh, 1998, p. 51). Indeed, schools with poor organizational structures normally register a higher rate of student dropouts. The at-risk nature of students normally poses social and economic challenges to both individuals and the society. Various researchers have focused on the need to recognize what is going on with the youth. This translates to the fact that there is an urgency to plan for special educational services for these students. From these studies, the youths pointed out that peer pressure, family problems, uncaring teachers, drugs and alcohol abuse, and low self-esteem as some factors that contribute to them being rendered at-risk (Pollard, 2001, p. 31).

Statement of the problem

The main objective of this study is to examine the effects of an intervention program for at-risk high school males. It is required that the school proprietors have a clear understanding of the experiences of the students in order to come up with good programs that will enable the at-risk males improve on their academic performance and achievements. There are certain risk factors that the at-risk high school males are exposed to. These risk factors increase their chances of dropping out of school and lagging behind academically than the rest of the students. Some of these risk factors include: low socioeconomic status, poverty, continuous low grades, peer pressure and low self-esteem of the students.

When the personal experiences of the students are taken into account, it becomes easy to plan the courses of action to be taken to rescue these students. The occurrence of at-risk contributes to the deteriorations of the economic status of the country. Many of these students when they drop out of school start to engage in criminal activities. If there are no responsible adults who can be a role model to them and show them the correct path to follow through moral support, then this problem is expected to persist.

Objectives of the study

The main objective of this study was to examine the effects of an intervention program for at-risk high school males. In line with the main objective, the following specific objectives were explored:

  1. To examine the practices that schools use to intervene to help at-risk males realize academic success.
  2. To identify the intervention practice that works so well in rescuing the academic success of at-risk males.
  3. To determine the effect of the intervention programs on at-risk male students.

Research questions

The study adopted a quantitative approach. It involved collecting descriptive data with the aim of exploring the relationships among the variables. This research study looks to examine the problem of the high dropout rate among at-risk high school males. The purpose of this study is to analyze archival data to determine the effect on at-risk male, particularly on rural public schools that has implemented the intervention program. The dependent variable is the intervention program with two levels: participation in the program and no participation in the program. The independent variables are absenteeism, behavioral referrals, and GPA’s. The following research questions will be addressed:

  1. Research Question 1: Is there a difference in absenteeism between at-risk males participating in the intervention program and those not participating in the program?
  2. Research Question 2: Is there a difference in behavioral referrals between at-risk males participating in the intervention program and those not participating in the program?
  3. Research Question 3: Is there a difference in GPAs between at-risk males participating in the intervention program and those not participating in the program?

The study identified five risk factors to measure the variables, and these were: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. The researcher investigated to what extent these risk factors contributed to the academic achievement of the at-risk males.

Justification of the study

This study aimed at examining the effects of an intervention program for at-risk high school males. This study is very relevant in today’s society given the high rate of school drop outs. The findings of this study are very beneficial to policy makers to come up with strategies and plans to help the at-risk males to spur their academic success.

Researcher’s Role

The researcher is a schoolteacher at the rural public high school, a comprehensive public high school in Florida. She has held this post for the past 4 years. The researcher intends to evaluate data in the attempt to analyze factors that influenced the reduction of at-risk males dropping out of high school using an ex post facto design. The school registrar is responsible for abstracting pertinent student information for the purpose of this study.

Literature Review

Introduction

This chapter presents an analysis of different types of literatures linked to the subject of study, that is, intervention programs and practices targeting at-risk males. The analysis starts with an assessment of the chronological development of intervention programs for at-risk male students with the main focus being on high school students. The analysis proceeds with a discussion of current viewpoints and theories on at-risk male students. This will be followed by the current intervention programs and practices that have helped these students to enhance their academic performance. The analysis also involves a synthesis of experiential research linked to the topic. Lastly, the study will end with a summary of the research.

The literature review heavily relied on online academic databases, making use of search phrases and terms, including, but not restricted to, high school, at-risk male students, academic performance, intervention programs, and academic proficiency. To be specific, Google Scholar was used to trace academic journals. The literature review was mainly based on books and academic journals. Owing to changes in the political environment in the form of integration of public schools and the description of at-risk males, the materials used dated back to the 60s. Over forty five studies were found. The review of literatures was also based on books and journals used in class.

So many scholars have done studies that clearly describe the at-risk males. They came up with no clear definition of at-risk males; the definition varies according to the different environments that the students are exposed to (Herr, 1989, p. 65). Other scholars have explored a range of risk factors that at-risk male high school students are exposed to. They increase the at-risk male student’s chances of dropping out of school. In addition, the nature of students who are regarded as at-risk has been highly misconceived in the society. This has brought about mixed reactions and attitudes from others who are supposed to help them and provide opportunities that can help them redeem themselves.

It has been noted that the growing high population of students who are regarded as at-risk has been regarded to be a national disaster by some countries. Therefore, it is a necessity for schools to intervene with programs that are successful. Schools are not the only players involved in redeeming the at-risk males, their families and the entire community also plays a very pivotal role. This chapter will, therefore, review various related articles that explore the nature of at-risk male students, the challenges they have, the risk factors they are exposed to, and the various intervention programs that help them.

Past Developments of Intervention Programs and practices for At-Risk male Students

In the beginning of 1800, schools introduced grading systems where all learners were given the same instructions and poor performance was regarded as a sign lack of character (Deschenes, Cuban & Track, 2001, p. 525). Darling-Hamond (1997, p. 6), viewed municipal public schools of the early 1800 as large, unfriendly, industrial model institutions established to educate children from the underprivileged background. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were numerous reform movements. These movements condemned all forms of discriminations, which include discrimination witnessed in the educational sector. In addition, they supported equal opportunity for all students, which include foreign students and children from poor backgrounds. They advocated for a specific set of courses or vocational programs for underprivileged/special students (Deschenes et al., 2001, p. 526). As a result, foreign students and children from the minority groups were instantaneously isolated.

In 1965, a report submitted to the US Congress showed that the performance of children in school was highly influenced by their socioeconomic status and home environment. If we were to agree with this report, then it is obvious that most at-risk male students came from low-income neighborhoods and dysfunctional homes (Coleman, 2006, p. 40). In the early 1970s, a number of states introduced competency assessment system as a part of school reform. The system required students to meet certain requirements, for instance, be above the minimum grade in order to be promoted to the next level or graduate (Amerin & Berliner, 2002, p. 5).

However, the educational sector still experienced serious challenges, particularly assessment of performance of at-risk male students and the increasing dropout rate. Prior to 1980s, students from low-income neighborhoods and minority groups were regarded as academic failures and most stakeholders in the education sector were resigned to the fact that they would ultimately quit school. For that reason, these students were ignored for many years (Deschenes et al., 2001, p. 527). However, the reform activists in the 1980s were very optimistic that the situation will change, especially in the new century (Schlechty, 2001, p. 3).

As the year 1981 was coming to an end, the US government formed the National Commission on Excellence (NCE) to look into the problems ailing the education sector. The result was the publication of “A Nation at Risk” two years later. The term at-risk had been used many times in the US education sector before the publication. However, the report fortified the term and brought it into the focus of the whole country. The report also highlighted the challenges facing students during the transition stages. The challenges include academic performance, behavior, school attendance, and administrative problems (US Department of Education, 1983). The medical experts used the term “at-risk” to describe children whom at their time of birth were underweight or had shown depressing symptoms (Horner, Theut & Murdoch, 1984, p. 626). Health experts and education stakeholders used the term to refer to a number of things that predispose students to abusing substances, quitting school and breaking the law (Magid & McKelvey, 1998, p. 12).

In the mid-80s, scholars and academicians started to dissect the term at-risk to establish its true meaning and purpose. The term was used in most cases to describe students who were considered to be violent and troublesome, as well as those who were about to join criminal gangs (Arbuthnot & Gordon, 1986, p. 209). After the term became more popular in the education sector, educationists started to focus on students who had a high probability of dropping out of school and those who had already given up secondary education (Bloch, 1989, p. 160). By 1990, the government had already placed greater demand on all public educational institutions. At the moment, the US government is putting in place all the necessary measures to push students to study and aim for higher levels of education (Slack, 2013, p. 3).

According to Willis (2008, p. 38), the number of students recognized as at-risk in the US may be more than the documented figure. He is seconded by the US Department of Education who have pointed out that more students fall under this category than the estimates cited (US Department of Education, 2009, p. 45). At the moment, more and more students are being regarded to be at-risk owing to the fact that they are failing to meet the competency testing requirements. In addition, the number of at-risk males from minority groups has doubled the number of white students. For example, one of the recent studies conducted by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) found out that the number of students who failed to meet the competency testing requirements as per their ethnicity were as follows: 17 percent were white, 40 were Hispanic, 43 percent were Indian Americans, and 46 percent were black students.

Who is the at-risk male?

Different scholars have come up with various definitions to describe the at-risk males. School counselors have an uphill task to redefine the meaning of at-risk males (Herr, 1989, p. 6). Morris, in his study that explored the meaning of at-risk males found out that the term ‘at-risk’ is a process that results from the conditions of the society. People are not born when they are at-risk; it is the society that changes them by exposing them to risk factors. The risk factors include: poverty, low socioeconomic status, peer pressure, drug abuse, and low self-esteem (Morris, 2000, p. 75).

According to Morris (2000, p. 77), at-risk males are male students who are highly likely to drop out of school. Therefore, their chances of graduating is very minimal However, Parsley and Corcoran (2003, p. 85) argued that the definition of at-risk males varies and it is not specific. Their definition of at-risk males was that they are male students who when exposed to various risk factors, are not highly likely to graduate from school. They are highly likely to abandon their studies and drop out.

Stakeholders, researchers, and policyholders focus on at-risk male students who underperform in school with minimal concerns on the underachievement of these males (Dotterer, McHale & Crouter, 2009, p. 25). “No society in a knowledge-based world can prosper without supporting a thinking education for its entire people” (Darling-Hammond, 2006, p. 11). At-risk males are opting out of education due to stress factors that they face. School officials are the first line of communication to help with mentoring at-risk male students to foster success in school.

With the enforcement of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002, stakeholders in the education sector have been forced to pay close attention to different subgroups of students, especially those who are considered to be at-risk. The subgroups include underprivileged children, language beginners, marginalized groups, and physically/mentally challenged children (Tough, 2006). The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 aimed at bridging the performance gap between the white students and the minority groups, as well as other disadvantaged students. In other words, the Act was basically passed to help students classified as at-risk (US Department of Education, 2004, p. 18).

The implementation of the No Child Left Behind policy with its directive on Adequate Yearly Progress has made the issue of performance even more significant, particularly for stakeholders in the education sector. At the moment, the stakeholders in the education must keep an eye on the performance and development of students in each subgroup so as to assess their progress (Tough, 2006). Even though No Child Left Behind Act has created myriad challenges in the education sector, one of its principal advantages is the fact that it has forced the stakeholders in the education sector to pay more attention to students who are regarded to be at-risk. Currently, the at-risk males have to be recognized even before admission to school. They are placed under instructors who specialize in their style of learning. The progress of these students is closely monitored throughout their time in school. They are also given every chance to improve their performance.

Archer (2010, p. 281) defines at-risk males as male students whose academic performance is negatively affected by factors that are mainly linked to the education system. He offers a perfect example of students who are unable to read in secondary school. Tough (2006) seconded Archer’s argument through his study. Tough found out that only less than 15 percent of black students in the middle schools could read proficiently, which is a standard measure of competency (Tough, 2006). According to Smith and Wilhelm (2002, p. 2), strong literacy level is essential for excellent performance among students. The lack of ability to read proficiently is a common phenomenon among high school students, especially in the junior high. This has forced many students to drop out immediately they are admitted to high school. Therefore, reading deficiency can have a negative effect on students’ lives and can also be a springboard for excellent performance (Fisher & Frey, 2007, p. 206).

No Child Left Behind Act is the inspiration behind all the accountability movements in the education sector and has forced schools to pay more attention on the needs of at-risk males (US Department of Education, 2004, p. 18). A study conducted by Neil (2006), found that averagely performing high school male students had a probability of failing the basic proficiency test in reading. The Act has prompted education stakeholders to look for new ways of tackling such challenges, especially those touching on the needs of select groups of students. Enhancing reading proficiency in the middle schools will help students become more successful in the subsequent levels of education.

Theories and viewpoints on at-risk male students

As children move from childhood to teenage years, they usually face numerous challenges that can affect their general well being. Even though these challenges affect both males and females, males tend to be the most vulnerable. In relation to females, males are more likely to take part in criminal activities, drug abuse and drop out of school. They are also not likely to join institutions of higher learning (Hickman & Wright, 2011, p. 30). While some evidence-based intervention programs and practices have been found to be more effective in young children, they are also applicable to the adolescents and youths. Adequate knowledge on what works for male adolescents is very important in enhancing performance and achievement of at-risk male students in high schools (Mayer & Tucker, 2010, p. 473). The principle goal of various programs is to discover the efforts of at-risk males graduating from high school and attending a post-secondary intuition. The research reviewed the objective of the programs, responsibilities, effectiveness, and impact for at-risk males’ educational success.

Theoretical studies have shown that at-risk male students who regularly fail in class are more likely to drop out of school. There are positive and negative effects of educational attainment and self-efficacy amongst these males. It is important for schools to evaluate programs that can help these students be successful. Battin-Pearson et al. (2000, p. 568) stated that the etiology of dropping out of school affiliated with poor levels of academic achievement. According to Duke and Jacobson (2011, p. 14), in the US, 75% of at-risk males are in danger of dropping out of high school. The reason is that rather than seeking affirmation through education, at-risk males seek status through violence, effectively ending their school careers and getting rid of future opportunities for upward mobility. Their study cover topics of graduation crisis, socioeconomic class, education struggles, self-efficacy, personalization, connection to future and programs. They concluded that it is important for schools to evaluate programs for the effectiveness of achieving students’ success.

Bandura’s theory of socialization is one’s belief to succeed through overcoming the unthinkable failure (Goslin, 1969, p. 214). Building self-efficacy of at-risk males helps connect to their success, which involves continuous monitoring, high-quality curriculum, building knowledge, support systems, and opportunities for emotional and social growth (Mayer & Tucker, 2010, p. 473). The school administration’s focus is for all students to receive the highest levels of education. According to Mayer and Tucker (2010, p. 474), administrators have to incorporate changes by paying close attention to social and economic disadvantages of students so as to help them become high school graduates. The exposure to several intervention programs helps students to embrace the idea of psychosocial growth. Incorporating educational interventions in school with a purpose and a goal can lead to academic and social growth, and this will help to improve the lives of students (Mayer & Tucker, 2010, p. 475). In addition, Alliman-Brissett, Turner and Skovholt (2004, p. 125) found that educating parents through support sessions for success strategies through career-related modeling, emotional support, and verbal support for their adolescents’ efficacy is extremely important as well.

Furthermore, Somers and Piliawsky (2004, p. 17) stated the importance of academic performance on adolescent development. It would seem that efforts might be useful in preventing high school dropout. In addition, at-risk males connect with their parents working in a career. Darling-Hammond (2006, p. 11) cite a study conducted by Wald and Losen in 2003 that concluded that many states are not providing at-risk males with adequate education, which forces them to drop out or force them to the pipeline of prison. The economic cost of dropouts that are incarcerated exceeds fifty billion dollars annually. High school students who have found a commitment to academic success are less likely to drop out (Battin-Pearson et al., 2000, p. 569).

In the previous research studies, it has been established that students who are academically inclined has shown a low rate of truancy, poor attendance, behavioral referrals and are not at-risk of dropping out of school (Hallinan, 2008, p. 272). Additionally, the impact of an intervention program in schools, will allow students to attend career fairs that exhibit a proactive view of occupational existence and foster social cognitive learning skills for the well-being of at-risk males (Kolodinsky, Schroder, & Montopoli, 2006, p. 164).

Dotter et al. (2009, p. 61) argues that underachievement and low-income are some of the reasons why at-risk males drop out from schools. Additionally, culture and social factors also linked to a high number of dropouts and academic outcomes. Cholewa and West-Olatunji (2008, p. 55) emphasize that most at-risk males are from the ethnic minority groups, for instance, African Americans and Latin-Americans. These males have always struggled with basic proficiency tests. According to Strother (1986, p. 325), a disproportionate number of dropouts are male and members of racial or ethnic minorities who tend to be older than other students and come from low-income families. These families need extra support in public schools to understand their world of diversity.

Low-income, at-risk male students and their families should seek outreach programs in their communities to get support and for consideration. Schools, churches and community-based support programs, extracurricular activities, and academic activities for low-income families are ideal assistance for minority families. Students tend to become involved in school, sport activities, community events, and church activities to interchange classroom participation so as to support the achievement in school (Irvin et al., 2010, p. 2).

What constitutes the at-risk factors?

People are not naturally born at-risk. It is the conditions in the society that change them. It is a process that takes time. Factors like poverty, drug abuse, malnutrition, teen pregnancies, lack of equal opportunities, and lack of responsible role models are considered to be the adverse factors (Darling-Hammond, 2006, p. 11). In addition to this, factors like the evolving nature of the family dynamics also impact the youth negatively and render them to be at-risk. Family dynamics have changed over time and it is catalyzed by various circumstances, including divorce of parents, separation of parents and the existence of single parenthood, teen parenthood, and lack of family values (Herr, 1989, p. 65). These changes in family dynamics have brought about mixed roles in the family set up. At the moment, the children who are highly affected have to do everything possible for them to survive (Alspaugh, 1998, p. 51).

In addition, these changes in family dynamics have hindered the affected children from attaining their social needs, educational needs and economic needs.
There are several prevention programs surrounding many communities in the local schools, but intervention programs are what at-risk males need to embrace in order to focus on education. These intervention programs target children entering the twelfth grade. Individuals such as mentors, who display a concern for students, allow the students an opportunity of success (Somers & Piliawsky, 2004, p. 20). Studies show that twelfth graders receiving support are unlikely to drop out as opposed to twelfth graders that have no support. The average age a student drops out of school is 16, identified as a 10thgrader (Somers & Piliawsky, 2004, p. 22).

The intervention program arises in the 12thgrade as a preventive measure for a potential 10thgrader dropping out of school. By the 10thgrade, most struggling males are stigmatized and labeled “At-risk”. Monitored 12thgrade at-risk males, paired with adult male mentors who offer support in academic success, self-esteem, and social cognitive skills while building a relationship can motivate them to complete school rather than drop out (Somers & Piliawsky, 2004, p. 23).
McClure, Yonezawa and Jones (2010, p. 2), emphasize that higher levels of academic achievement support self-personalization. Students who engaged cognitively and emotionally in their academics would most likely detour the thought of dropping out of school. When schools and learning environments are smaller in numbers, it promotes personalization that improves learning environment (McClure et al., 2010, p. 3). Combining personalization and smaller class size develop a well-rounded relationship between the teacher and student (McClure et al., 2010, p. 4).

Darling-Hammond, Williamson and Hyler (2007, p. 281) stated that education has barriers that at-risk males have experienced for several years and will continue to experience. Disconnection between school and home affects the educational achievement of at-risk males. At-risk male students are identified by being segregated from other males and placed in special education categories in school. These offsets contribute to school dropout. They emphasized on the significance of the loss in education when they stated that “the pursuit of educational opportunity has been and continues to be tortuous, with each step toward progress met by a major societal set back that has caused the losses of gains that appeared to be won by now” (Darling-Hammond et al., 2007, p. 281).

According to McClure et al. (2010, p. 4), the performance of at-risk males can be enhanced when there is a single teacher-to-student ratio. McClure et al. (2010) conducted a survey to assess the level of personalization through GPA’s and test scores. The research established that personalization affects students’ academic achievement. Once a student establishes connection with the school, other aspects are enhanced, for instance, teacher-student relation and level of expectation, interpersonal skills, and academic achievement. This in turns prevents at-risk males from dropping out of school. According to the study, there is a strong correlation between personalization and student achievement. Personalization was significantly related to GPA and student achievement. The study concluded that school administrators and staffs are able to make a closer connection to students’ academic attainment, which reduces the rate of dropouts.

Teachers recognize that there are educational barriers that hinder at-risk males from succeeding (Cholewa & West-Olatunji, 2008, p. 58). According to Cholewa and West-Olatunji (2008, p. 59), unfair treatment both at school and home affect students psychologically and emotionally, subsequently impact on their developmental learning. Hallinan (2008, p. 274) found out that when teachers’ expectations are not met, then the students’ whole perception of school is affected.

Hargrove (2011, p. 434) concluded that educators do not see at-risk males as gifted students because these males have become statistics of incarceration and victims of homicide. According to Hargrove (2011, p. 434), there are numerous factors that contribute to academic failure of at-risk male students, but the biases of white teachers have been an issue for African American students. This has significantly contributed to the immobility of their academic achievement. He adds that the educational struggle of at-risk males is contributed by lack of support from the people they are in contact with every day (educators).

Junior high school is where at-risk males begin to significantly get astray due to a number of variables, including reading deficiencies and peer pressure (Whitehouse, 2009, p. 18). However, this is also the level where students are still open to positive influence from the educationists. This is because these students have not matured enough to make their own decisions, hence are bound to be influenced by adult role models. In addition, there are a number of programs and activities that are likely to enhance students’ performance in junior high school and high school (Whitehouse, 2009, p. 19).

Different authors have come up with different attributes of at-risk male students. Whereas a number of authors have linked educational failures and low performance to urban students (McMillan & Reed, 1994), others have linked it to students who are highly likely to drop out of school or fail in two or more subjects (Willis, 2008). A study by McIntosh et al. (2008) to identify the defining characteristics of at-risk males established a direct correlation between academic performance, general conduct and dropout levels among students. However, the circumlocutory impact of their study is that waiting till a student gets to high school may possibly be too late. This is because at that stage, students would be already on their way to quitting school. Therefore, education stakeholders should pay more attention to junior high school before students are promoted to the next level (Palumbo & Sanacore, 2009, p. 276).

According to Slavin et al. (2008, p. 292), the fundamental attributes of at-risk males is still being contested and its conclusion would have a major impact on students’ performance, adaptation and demeanor. Nonetheless, Willis (2008) provides some of the fundamental characteristics of at-risk males. He describes at-risk males as (a) students who have failed to meet the competency testing requirements (b) students who are highly likely to drop out from school (c) students experiencing socioeconomic challenges which could either be because of poor background or conflicts in the family, or (d) students who have not been promoted to the next level. Willis was particularly interested in how the educators could help at-risk male students to improve their performance. He used qualitative methods in his study to establish the problems facing students.

Based on his research, Willis (2008, p. 38) concluded that all the stakeholders in the education sector, including parents play a very important part in the student’s well being. The school heads are as significant as the social workers. He states that the dissimilarity between resilient at-risk male student and their non-resilient counterpart is due to attention each receives. Even though the outcome of the study was promising from a research point of view, he raises a number of concerns. His principle concern was how the school liaises with the community, social institutions, faith-based organizations and family members to help such students.

McIntosh et al. (2008) established a strong connection between poor performance among at-risk male students and behavioral problem. Specifically, there was a substantial link between performance and disciplinary cases in public schools. They also noted that students from the marginalized groups experienced myriad challenges when moving from the junior high school to high school compared to white students. This occurred despite of the fact that schools had put in place necessary programs to help these students. McIntosh and his colleagues conducted the research in a small district in the Pacific North. The student population in the district was approximately 5000. The district had a small number of ethnic minorities. McIntosh and his colleagues tracked the performance and discipline records for 300 at-risk male students as they moved from junior high school to high school.

The research results showed a strong link between academic grades and discipline records. The results also showed an increase in the defining characteristics of at-risk males as children moved from junior high school to high school. Hence, there is a need for intervention programs to curb future dropouts. This research could be questioned due to the application of non-random sampling. The methodology used may have had a significant impact on the outcome of the research, for instance, uniformity of the ethnicity, which could have been considered when conducting the research. In addition, they reported that the number of students in the government’s feeding program was nearly half of the total population. The program covered approximately three quarters of schools in the district. The use of free and subsidized meals was very crucial since the sampled at-risk males were very small. The student of lower socioeconomic status was equal to the total population. In addition, the Latinos, who constitute the minority groups was the largest group in the district.

According to Coleman (2006, p. 41), there is a significant need to do more research on the relationship between socioeconomic status and academic performance or achievement of at-risk male students, especially as regards to whether the two have a direct correlation or not. Numerous studies have dealt with this relationship. One qualitative research entitled “the impact of socioeconomic status on at-risk males’ performance and achievement” particularly examined the correlation between at-risk males academic performance and achievement and the socioeconomic status of the school population. Some studies have addressed the impact of socioeconomic status on individual students. Others, on the other hand, have examined the degree to which the socioeconomic status of the peers has affected the academic performance and achievement of at-risk male students, not considering their individual socioeconomic status (Duke & Jacobson, 2011, p. 16).

Is there a threat of somebody being at-risk? Normally, someone who is considered to be at risk is not expected to succeed. This is due to the fact that the nature of being at-risk is not seen to be desirable in the society. Therefore, the success of at-risk individuals is always considered to be undesirable in the society (Coleman, 1987, p. 36). Historically, in the 20th century, to attain a high academic excellence was not regarded by many children as a priority. Many families made a living comfortably through the trading of goods and services. In addition, many people aspired to be absorbed in the military (Bandura, 1977, p. 91; Margolis & McCabe, 2004, p. 247; McMillian & Reed, 1993, p. 42). Indeed, education was not as highly valued as it is now. As the whole world evolved, the need for academics began to creep in. Many schools came up and lucrative working conditions for those who were schooled were there for the taking. This brought about a paradigm shift and people began to appreciate the values of education (McMillan & Reed, 1994, p. 63).

Over the years, schools developed from being community-based institutions to government institutions. In addition, the families setups have also transformed over the years as increased cases of single parenthood have been observed. Therefore, the schools can be said to have lost the community touch and they are faced with stiff competition from big commercial ventures that confuse the students making them not to do their homework or skip school activities (Gayles, 2005, p. 263). The main goal of schools is to empower the students academically by creating a good learning atmosphere. The schools find it hard to achieve this goal due to the high level of distraction from the commercial ventures. These ventures literally oppose the efforts of the schools.

Relationship between the teacher and the student

Teacher-student relationship is a very powerful tool towards achieving academic excellence by the students. The learning experience of the students is regarded as the best predictor of the quality of the education. Young children, who enroll in kindergartens, when nurtured properly and given all the required attention, will have a good learning experience which translated to a good quality education (Gayles, 2005, p. 263). It is, therefore, essential for primary school teachers to impart a great influence in terms of learning experience on the students at their early ages of learning. At the classroom level, the teachers should foster a sense of responsibility, caring, respect, and intrinsic motivation to the young students. This will help to curb the occurrence of academic failures.

There are many actions that foster a strong relationship between the teachers and the students. The first action is the formation of trust between the teacher and the student. The second action is for the students to have confidence that the teachers are there for them and that they care for their welfare. The third action is for the teachers to create comfortable and competitive learning atmosphere in which the students can set goals and standards. Finally, the fourth action is for teachers to foster a sense of belonging to the classroom environment (Kronick, 1997, p. 119). A healthy relationship between the teachers and the students will give the at-risk males the needed support to spur their academic success.

Various research results have identified some outstanding character traits of teachers that are considered to be important in fostering a good relationship with the at-risk males. Teachers with strong interpersonal skills, have the ability to nurture the students in a proper way. A healthy relationship creates a better learning environment for the at-risk males and gives them a sense of motivation to perform well in their academics (Brendtro, Brokenleg & van Bockern, 1990, p. 63; Conrath, 1994, p. 52). Good teachers need to pay attention to the feelings of the students. In addition, they should meet their expectations and address issues related to their values and attitudes. Students are very choosy and they will more free and comfortable to approach friendly and caring teachers.

The performance of the students in the class has a direct impact on the attitudes and the personalities of the teachers (Appelstein, 1998, p. 47). A supportive attitude will ensue between teachers and students who perform well in class. On the other hand, non-supportive attitudes translate to frustrations by the teachers, student’s lack of resilience, racism and blame games. Indeed, teachers with supportive attitudes offer a sense of motivation to their students by recognizing and rewarding successful students. The at-risk males will not have the mindset to drop out of school as they get the necessary support that they need in school.

Other studies that focus on the effective relationship between the teachers and the students have revealed that a good learning experience encourages the students to keep going. This gives rise to competent students who have a great sense of control in regards to their decisions and actions (Appelstein, 1998, p. 47). They further asserted that it is incumbent upon the teachers to utilize the powers bestowed upon them to gain control over the students by being responsible and providing quality instructions. Good instructional skills are very beneficial towards enhancing motivation among the students. The at-risk males rely so much on the motivation that they get from their teachers to realize their academic excellence.

Abbott, Joireman and Stroh (2002) conducted a research on the impact of district size, school size and socioeconomic status on the performance of at-risk males in Washington. This was a duplication of a research done by Bickel and Howley at the beginning of the 21st century, which was based on the Hierarchical Linear Model. The study was carried out through the Washington Research Centre in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Organization. All the data used in the research were accessed from the office of the Inspector of Public Schools in the state. The data comprised of test scores of junior high school students. The data were used to evaluate the student’s proficiency in mathematics and reading (Abbott et al., 2002, p. 4).

Abbott et al. (2002) research emphasized on the results of the Washington data in connection with the earlier study conducted in Georgia. The study conducted in Georgia established that larger schools benefited high income districts, while smaller schools benefited low income districts. The study also found out that high academic performance and achievement were common in larger districts (Abbott et al., 2002, p. 6).

Relationship between the parents and the students

The parents have a task to demonstrate their show of interest towards the education of their children by involving themselves in various school’s activities and programs. In addition, several studies have revealed that a healthy relationship between the parents and the children is very critical in spurring the academic success of the students (Brendtro et al., 1990, p. 63). Many schools have programs that call for the involvement of the parents or guardians in the academic affairs of the students. An increased frequency of parent’s participation is very healthy in enhancing a good learning environment, hence improving the learning experience of the students. In addition, the involvement of the parents or guardians in the academic affairs motivates the teachers to provide a greater learning experience for the students (Brendtro et al., 1990, p. 64).

It has been noted by many researchers that there have been a decrease in the involvement of the parents in the academic affairs of their children. This diminishing involvement of the parents is as a result of the pressure created by harsh economic conditions. The parents, therefore, prioritize to put more efforts in providing the daily bread for the family (Brendtro et al., 1990, p. 63). This challenge is in addition to the other challenges that face the at-risk. Actually, the research regarding the effect of the relationship of the parents and the children has produced varied results. Some researchers argue that this relationship has a positive influence, while others see it as a negative influence. The rest maintained a neutral ground (Somers & Piliawsky, 2004, p. 22).

Kronick (1997, p. 64) explored the involvement of the parents in the academic matters of their children. He used a sample of students who were in public schools, whereby he analyzed their academic performance in connection with the involvement of their parents in their academic matters. The results revealed that the involvement of the parents in the academic affairs of the children had a positive and direct influence in the behavioral aftermaths of the students. Students whose parents were greatly involved in their school activities had positive attitudes and were motivated to work hard and excel in school. The reverse was true for the students whose parents were not involved in their academic affairs.

Parents are the primary contact that the children have. It is, therefore, the role of the parents to inculcate a sense of responsibility and maturity to the children; the children cannot learn on their own (Gayles, 2005, p. 262; Dotterer et al., 2009, p. 25). Parents’ enabling role involves defending and protecting the children from tough situations. In addition, parents normally do watch their children to shield them from making mistakes. The enabling role of the parents has been criticized by many scholars due to the fact that it does not allow the children to make their own decisions; the children’s actions are determined by the decisions of their parents. Thus, children who hail from enabling parents have no independence or self-motivation (Alspaugh, 1998, p. 51; Herr, 1989, p. 65). At-risk males, therefore, have several issues that hinder them from attaining academic success. The role of the parent-student relations is considered to be vital in playing a big role towards the personal development of at-risk male students.

Socioeconomic status and school/district size

There is a given criterion that students who hail from lower economic backgrounds should meet. Many researchers are still exploring the relationship that exists between the socioeconomic status of the students and their academic achievements. In their study, Somers and Piliawsky (2004, p. 20) conducted a research that explored the relationship between the socioeconomic status of the students and their academic excellence. They targeted two groups of students, for instance, the ones who were on a free or subsidized lunch program and the ones whose parents had low educational and occupational levels. They found varied results that indicated that there were some at-risk males who still excelled in their studies even though they had a lower socioeconomic status.

Low socioeconomic status is considered to be a risk factor that contributes to the males to be labeled at-risk. Many children tend to drop out of school as they look for part time jobs to supplement the incomes for their families. In addition, many parents of children who come from lower socioeconomic status are not involved in the academic affairs of their children. Their children, therefore, lack motivation and in the long run, their academic excellence is highly compromised. A school which is set up in an area of lower socioeconomic status is not expected to do well like schools located in high socioeconomic status (Dotterer et al., 2009, p. 25).

Based on the available data, Abbott, Joireman and Stroh (2002, p. 15) came to a conclusion that larger schools depressingly affects students in middle schools. On the other hand, larger districts perpetuate a negative relationship between low socioeconomic status and performance of at-risk males. Nonetheless, the socioeconomic status of the district did not affect school size and performance relationship. Abbott et al. (2002, p. 16) confirmed the tendency of large schools to benefit high-income neighborhoods and small schools to benefit low-income neighborhoods. Nevertheless, the results were found to be statistically insignificant.

Most stakeholders in the education sector have always believed that school size significantly affects performance and achievement of at-risk male students. However, the research outcomes indicate that school size is a very intricate factor. The researchers explain that school size should be analyzed with respect to other factors in order to establish its impact on student performance and achievement. The findings of this study were against the basic conclusion that reducing the size of schools or districts would routinely enhance performance and achievement of at-risk males. Despite making a conclusion, Abbott et al. (2002, p. 6) believed that more research with respect to size in still needed. However, Duke and Jacobson (2011, p. 18) believe that smaller classes and schools could help to improve the performance and achievement of underprivileged students.

Poor performance continues to be viewed as the principal challenge for at-risk males. Therefore, poor performance is the precursor to dropping out (Abbott et al., 2002, p. 4). At the center of all, the definition of at-risk males, at-risk males are regarded as poor performers with unsuccessful school experience. From the above literatures, at-risk males have a wide range of characteristics and, therefore, a third to half of the students could fall under this category. For this reason, the intervention programs used depend on the number of challenges experienced by at-risk student both at school and home.

Black students are often labeled at-risk and closely watched in high schools because of the socioeconomic risks that a number of them experience. Unfortunately, the majority of black students on average, performed poorly than their peers who are advantaged. Equally, the socioeconomic risks also affect their psychological development (Burchinal et al., 2008, p. 286). According to Burchinal et al. (2008, p. 287), the performance of black students can be enhanced by advancing their language skills, reducing the general expectation and promoting other academic skills. While the study emphasized more on language skills and a number of risk factors, Burchinal and his colleague believed that language and reading skills were the most important in averting poor performance among black students. This is because most black students often use informal language both at home and in school. Their language is significantly different in terms of dialect and style. As a result, schools should consider giving them tests, which use languages that are less confusing to such students.

Connection to the Future

It is the role of the educators to connect students with the future. The school counselors can start by correcting their biases towards at-risk males since such open prejudice can have a negative effect on their general well being (Hargrove, 2011, p. 434). Mayer and Tucker (2010, p. 473) proposed school engagement with the students. A positive relation between the student and the school staff can enhance students’ performance, which in turns fosters connection to the future. School counselors are essential in connecting at-risk males to the future and promotion of educational success (Hargrove, 2011, p. 435).

Cholewa and West-Olatunji, (2008, p. 5) based their study on the work of other authors, including Mitchell, Bush and Bush (2002). Mitchell et al. (2002, p. 145) recommend setting up intervention programs for underprivileged students. They urged schools and stakeholders in the education sector to focus on the achievement of these students. They argue that underachievement is a direct result of faculty conceptualization. Washington (2010, p. 26) recommend the current ASCA (American School Counselors Association) model. According to this model, school counselors should be dedicated to the attainment of general transformation and fostering collaborative relationships between students and the staff.

There are two groups of students, those who have a great level of resilience and those who do not exhibit any form of resilience. The notion of seeking the intervention program to help the at-risk students focuses on the resilient students. Resilience is a factor that needs to be nurtured in all students, and very many schools have taken this to task (Bandura, 1977, p. 91; Margolis & McCabe, 2004, p. 247; McMillian & Reed, 1993, p. 42). Resilient students are known to have high intrinsic motivation, proper time management, good relations with the teachers and the parents or guardians, positive personalities, and a high level of optimism (Hargrove, 2011, p. 47).

Various research studies have pointed out that the at-risk students normally have inbuilt factors that enable them to achieve academic excellence. Some of these factors include: positive relationship with the teachers and the rest of the students, punctuality in class, punctuality in submitting assignments, and enhanced GPAs (Coleman, 1987, p. 36). Some of the resilient at-risk students also attribute their academic excellence to the extra attention that they get from their teachers. In addition, these categories of students normally have a healthy relationship with their family members.

The review of literature in this study is the basis of the thesis statement, which focused on the enhancement of the level of resiliency among the at-risk students in order to realize their academic excellence. The study explores on the behavioral features of the at-risk students and how schools can intervene to enhance their resiliency. Factors that build resiliency in at-risk students include: getting support from concerned adults, having good and responsible role models, providing equal opportunities for all the students to engage in extra curriculum activities, and having belief on the students in order to enhance their self-esteem.

Intervention Programs for at-risk male students

There have been many programs implemented to address the issues of high level of school dropouts. This section describes some programs and their approaches. Poverty, racial segregation, single-family households, unstable environments, parent’s family history of dropping out of school, and academic failure in an at-risk male’s life is a base foundation of developing an intervention program (Somers & Piliawsky, 2004, p. 17). Mentoring and Intervention programs are viable tools to give opportunities for mentors to effectively and efficiently mentor at-risk males, either one-on-one or through group sessions. Group counseling generally has been shown to be an effective treatment for high-risk adolescents (Gur & Miller, 2004, p. 575).

The deliverer of mentoring is the adult role model who has an interest in the adolescent. Group counseling is based on community Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) program. The PINS is a mentoring program for males who are in trouble with the law. These adolescents are in need of extra supervision. The main purpose of this program is for at-risk adolescents to be provided with additional support rather than alternative educational centers (Gur & Miller, 2004, p. 576).

Intervention programs are incorporated in primary and secondary schools, colleges, churches, recreational camps, neighboring communities to mentor at-risk male students to ensure that they graduate from high school (Hickman & Wright, 2011, p. 25). Studies show that an intervention program, for instance, “Rite of Passage” (ROP) were designed to assist strengthening at-risk males from low socioeconomic class to understand the purpose of self-integrity (West-Olatunji et al., 2008, p. 137). ROP programs discovered that at-risk male families are Eurocentric. Counselors use these programs to identify with socioeconomic cultures. Programs must have a designed mission and vision with a purpose to serve a community as a whole. The ROP programs channel their strength and support to at-risk male’s and their families’ culture by building a connection and assisting with emotions or feelings (West-Olatunji et al., 2008, p. 138).

The goal of any program is to have a mentor who gives professional advice to at-risk students with the purpose of offering mental and psychological support (Frels et al., 2013, p. 618). Another intervention program intended for at-risk male students is project 2000. Project 2000 is a community-based program designed to provide support to troubled at-risk males who experience school failure. The program serves as a preventive measure (Holland, 1996, p. 315). Project 2000 is based on the theory of women (parents) raising boys and women (teacher) teaching males. The problem is the female authority in both environments (Holland, 1996, p. 316).

One preventive strategy of this program is to assist female teachers with the support from an adult male role model. The adult role model represents a male figure that values academic achievement infused with social skills. For that reason, they serve as a source of inspiration for at-risk males graduating from high school (Holland, 1996, p. 316). The goal of this program is to create a relationship between male mentors and at-risk male students and implemented goals that benefit the students (Holland, 1996, p. 317; Frels et al, 2013).

There are numerous intervention programs that have been initiated in the local district schools. These programs have been created to encourage at-risk males to focus on their education. Most of these intervention programs target students from junior high school (specifically the twelfth graders) to high school. Adults who show concern for these students provide them with an opportunity to succeed (Somers & Piliawsky, 2004, p. 19). Studies showed that twelfth graders with this support are unlikely to drop out opposed to twelfth graders that have no support. The average age a student drops out of school is 16, identified as a 10th grader (Somers & Piliawsky, 2004, p. 20).

The intervention programs are established in the 12th grade as a preventive measure for a potential 10th grader dropping out of school. By the 10th grade, most struggling males begin to be stigmatized and labeled “At-risk”. 12th grade at-risk males, paired with adult male mentors who offer support in academic success, self-esteem, and social cognitive skills, while building a relationship can motivate them to complete school rather than drop out (Somers & Piliawsky, 2004, p. 20).

Motivated Action towards Achievement and Transformation (MAAT) is another intervention program focusing on African American students, but can also be used in other at-risk males. The program is connected to an African philosophy, which emphasizes on the cardinal virtues of truth of one’s self. The program consists of African American adult males that teach and mentor adolescent males after school. The program centers on study habits, co-curricular activities, academic sessions, and counseling/mentoring to reflect the students’ belief in the cardinal virtues (Mitchell et al., 2002, p. 143). Combining tutoring, modeling and mentorship assist with the study habits, behavioral issues, and academic achievement, thus enhances student’s chances of graduating from high school (Hickman & Wright, 2011).

According to Kahne and Bailey (1999, p. 321), practitioners, policymakers, and scholars are increasingly recognizing that standard educational models do not provide compelling responses to the often extraordinary challenges facing at-risk males in urban contexts. MAAT focus on students that experiences failures at school due to behavior issues, academic achievement, and low reading proficiency. This program has brought attention to at-risk black males’ inner strength to sustain the life challenges and the efforts to graduate (Mitchell et al., 2002, p. 144).

The “500 Role Models of Excellence Project Implementation” is another intervention program that was introduced by the US government in 1993. In 1994, this project was renamed 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project due to the increased enrollment of males in need of an effective mentorship program (5000 Role Models District Offices, 2012). The slogan of this program is “WE ARE”. It is a prevention program for minority young boys “at-risk” of dropping out of school and/or choosing a criminal life (5000 Role Models District Offices, 2012).

In fact, the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project (2012) found out that most at-risk males are subject to imprisonment, sellers/users of illegal drugs and dropping out of school. Mentoring programs provide at-risk males a figured role model that offers guidance, support and nurturance to minimize the effects of problematic behaviors (5000 Role Models District Offices, 2012). The primary goal is to provide academic success for at-risk males and reduce their chances of dropping out of school. At-risk male students who are between the ages of 9 and 19 years old are involuntary and/or voluntary chosen by self, parents/ guardian, teachers and school administrators to take part in the program. These “at-risk” males are invited on multiple field trips throughout the school to motivate them to continue with the path of success. This program offers at-risk males’ scholarships and a foundation for achieving a goal of graduating with a committed effort of pursuing post high school education (5000 Role Models District Offices, 2012).

According to Rashid (2009, p. 355), there should be a continued advocacy for the development of programs to recruit African American males into teaching in early childhood settings, including scholarships, loan waivers and alternative certification programs. The stigma around men teaching young children must be confronted and eradicated (Rashid, 2009, p. 356).

Ramification of dropping out

According to the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project (2012), at least 95% of the enrolled at-risk males in the program tend not to have further encounters with the law and violation of the student codes of conduct. On the other hand, at-risk male students who are not enrolled or not involved with some type of intervention program will encounter repeated misconduct either in school or in the community. The ramifications of dropping out of school will subject them to a continuous lifestyle of an environment of incarceration or being a statistic of homicide (5000 Role Models District Offices, 2012).

Studies have shown that all students, particularly at-risk male students need mentors to guide their path of success (Staff & Kreager, 2008, p. 447). According to Cutshall (2001, p. 35), students who have mentors are less likely to be involved in irrational behaviors (drugs, alcohol, violence and truancy). Rockwell (1997) emphasizes that an individual who is in close contact with students, for instance, the administrators, teachers, security personnel, and staff are considered as mentors for those students.

Common practices in schools targeting at-risk males

Based on the review of the available research on the subject under study, four practices are common in the existing literatures: (a) strong leadership from school heads (b) focused programs and reading intervention (c) constructive student-teacher relationship (d) constructive parent-student relationship. These practices promise a brighter future for at-risk high school students, particularly at-risk male high school students. The subsequent sections provide various studies that helped to align the designed research around these practices.

Strong leadership from school heads

Research studies on the impact of leadership in schools on the quality of education and student learning experience started in the 60s (Gross & Herriott, 1965). Later on, researchers started to focus on the impact of principal leadership on students learning (Bossert et al., 1982). Hallinger and Heck (1998) reviewed the results of over 40 studies carried out between 1980s to mid-1990s examining the correlation between principal leadership and students’ performance. Their study was categorized into three sections: direct impact on student results, leadership arbitrated by other staff members, and the correlation between leadership actions and environmental aspects. Hallinger and Heck (1998) found very little evidence in the first two categories. However, they concluded that school leadership has a quantifiable, but circumlocutory impact on students’ performance.

Waters et al. (2003) also reviewed 70 research studies on the impact of school leadership on student performance that were carried out in the last three decades. The study involved the assessment of the roles of different school leaders. They found a considerable link between school leadership and student performance. Reeves (2003) emphasizes on the importance of school leadership on the success of students at large, including at-risk males. According to him, school leadership encompasses all the staff members whom the students interact within the school premises. This is because students’ lives are not limited to the classroom.

However, the leadership efforts should be geared towards the school’s mission, vision and goals (Supovitz, Sirinides & May, 2010, p. 32). The impact of school leadership also corresponds to school heads giving their powers to other staff members to develop strategies and programs aimed at helping at-risk males (George, 2009, p. 4). In this case, staff empowerment means breaking away from the conventional schedules, which are very tight and inflexible. Staff members need flexible schedules and ample time to tackle a wide range of learning needs, especially those handling at-risk males (Whitehouse, 2009, p. 20).

Supovitz et al. (2010, p. 35) utilized teachers survey and student performance data to assess the link between student learning experience and aspects of school leadership, teacher-peer effect and curriculum changes. The research established that student confidence and cooperation was influenced by school culture. Principle leadership is a main component of school culture. The study concluded that school heads who emphasize on curriculum, promote collaboration and trust in their school, and unquestionably communicate goals and vision of the school are highly likely to have staffs that are more creative in their practices. The outcome of this research suggests that school heads have more influence than some researchers think. They work through other members of staff to influence classroom outcome (Supovitz et al., 2010, p. 35).

Kronick (1997, p. 64) in his study explored intervention programs that work and those that do not work for the at-risk males in schools. However, other scholars rather than investigate the cause of the problems, they have just focused on the aspects of the problems facing the at-risk males. In general, it has been pointed out that the main cause of the existence of at-risk males normally emanate from environmental factors. However, it is worth noting that the intervention programs are aimed at remedying the children instead of changing the environment. Therefore, these remedying programs will just work temporarily and with time fail again.

Resiliency in children

Children who are flexible and resilient will normally strive to succeed no matter what circumstances they are exposed to. Some at-risk males have developed relevant skills that have enabled them to succeed. Most of them have developed strong personalities, which have boosted their image and self-esteems (Gayles, 2005, p. 253). There are some factors that contribute to a child being flexible. These factors include: nature of the school’s management, efficient time usage, family stability and personal character of the child (Gayles, 2005, p. 262).

Resilient children are optimistic in nature and they are the ones who view a glass as half full rather than half empty. Their optimism will enable them to develop strong interpersonal skills that enable them to get along very well with the rest of the students (Gayles, 2005, p. 263). Students who normally excel academically normally have high aspirations derived from inherent motivation. Motivation is regarded as the pillar of success (McMillan & Reed, 1993, p. 31). Flexible children are much focused and they normally set their goals to drive them to their future. They do not blame anybody else for their own predicaments, but take full responsibility of their actions.

Somers and Piliawsky (2004, p. 20) emphasized on the importance of academic performance in the development of at-risk male students. It would seem then, that efforts might be useful in preventing high school dropout. Moreover, at-risk males are connected with their parents’ career. Darling-Hammond (2006, p. 14) did a study that concluded that many states are not providing at-risk males with adequate education, which force them to drop out or to the pipeline of prison. The economic cost of dropouts that are incarcerated exceeds fifty billion dollars annually. High school students who have found a commitment to academic success are less likely to drop out (Battin-Pearson et al., 2000, p. 22). In a past research study, it has been found out that students who are academically inclined have shown a low rate of truancy, poor attendance, behavioral referrals, and are not at-risk of dropping out of school (Hallinan, 2008, p. 276). Additionally, the impact of an intervention program in schools, will allow students to attend career fairs that exhibit a proactive view of occupational existence and foster social cognitive learning skills for the well-being of at-risk males (Kolodinsky, Schroder, & Montopoli, 2006, p. 31).

Resilient students normally have good time manners and budget their time. They normally involve themselves in activities that keep them occupied like sports, clubs, or church activities. Getting involved in these activities raises their self-esteem, which in turn gives them a sense of motivation and aspiration. When they are motivated, they have the ability to succeed (Bandura, 1977, p. 6; Coleman, 1987, p. 35; Margolis & McCabe, 2004, p. 245). Engagement in these activities also adds up to the experience of these students. In addition, the students will have an insight that they are useful and can help their colleagues.

Students who are flexible and resilient normally associate themselves with responsible adults who act as their role models to give them moral support and inspiration. The adults do not have to be their parents or guardians; they could be anyone who is capable of positively influencing the lives of the children (Coleman, 1987, p. 36; McMillan & Reed, 1994, p. 31). The success of at-risk males is determined more by good parenting and family stability. The stability of the families provides a sense of security to the children and they grow up knowing that the world offers a safer place to live in (McMillan & Reed, 1994, p. 31).

Factors contributing to the academic success

At-risk males need both a proper school and a strong support to help spur their academic success. Friendly teachers who go the extra mile and personally support the interests of the at-risk males are big contributors to the academic excellence of these students (Bandura, 1977, p. 91; Margolis & McCabe, 2004, p. 247; McMillian & Reed, 1993, p. 42). At-risk males need teachers who mind about them. They also need teachers with respect and humility; in addition, teachers who understand their needs are also important to them. Other important attributes that the teachers should have are: the ability to listen and understand them before punishing them for bad deeds, impartiality in teaching and grading, able to motivate students and reward them for excelling academically, and being eager to personally know the welfare of the students (Coleman, 1987, p. 36).

The management of schools should create a suitable learning environment that supports the academic excellence of at-risk males. The environment should promote the participation of the students in extra-curriculum activities, and also the students’ interactions with others so as to improve their self-esteem and confidence. These positive experiences by the at-risk males will inculcate a sense of togetherness with the rest of the students. The at-risk males will feel loved and cared for and have a sense of belonging (McMillan & Reed, 1994, p. 63).

Furthermore, there is a need for faith-based organizations, municipalities, and public education to foster stakeholder partnerships to increase the graduation rates of at-risk males. The lack of participation between home and school is sometimes due to non-educated parents unaware of their rights in the school systems (Gayles, 2005, p. 263). According to Glatthorn and Joyner (2005, p. 46), the parents are the principal influence in the lives of children. Therefore, the existence of open communication between home and school contributes highly to the academic success of these students. Hallinan (2008, p. 280) stated that an early intervention program, such as the village model of care is beneficial to at-risk males because its focus is to reduce problem behaviors and advocates for positive lifestyles for at-risk males. This intervention program reflects the concept that “It takes a village to raise a child”; it involves families, administrators, teachers, counselors, and communities to support the at-risk males.

How to understand the at-risk males

There is a universal perception that children who are labeled to be at-risk are bad children who pose threats or problems to the society. This has contributed to them being treated unfairly unlike the rest of the children. In order to respond to the needs of these children, the society is required to change their mindset and/or perceptions regarding these children (Kronick, 1997, p. 119). These children are also important to the society and when their plights and needs are ignored, they become a big burden to the community. A wide gap will be created between them and the rest of the children, thus, making them feel prejudiced and ignored and unwelcome. When they start to have these feelings, the need to retaliate will be instigated and, therefore, they become a burden to the society.

Many people in the society often want to focus on the problems created by the at-risk males rather than focusing on their needs. This makes it difficult to understand the needs of these children and appreciate their strengths and talents that they have. Therefore, this means that the at-risk child may be having some inherent attributes that just go unnoticed in schools and in the society. Actually, their mode of grasping ideas and facts in schools is quite different from the rest of the students in the school. The schools have failed to come up with a structured classroom system that captures the needs of these at-risk males. The school management has to come into terms with the fact that different students have different speeds of learning; there are slow learners and there are fast learners. Their mode of instructing the students should be flexible to accommodate all students (Brendtro et al., 1990, p. 63).

The management of schools should have programs that accommodate all the students in the learning environment. The students who are not satisfied or demoralized ought to figure out alternative modes of learning (Conrath, 1994, p. 52). It is a tendency of the society to focus on the problem rather than to deal with the cause of the problem (Appelstein, 1998, p. 47). When the society applies force as a way of rectifying the behavior of the at-risk males, it may break the heart of these children. These children are not troublemakers, or rude, or selfish; they are just innocent children who are seeking for attention from responsible adults (Conrath, 1994, p. 53; Appelstein, 1998, p. 47).

At-risk males residing in poverty-stricken neighborhoods have a very high rate of school drop outs. Additional academic factors found in correlation with at-risk males dropping out include: inability to read, lack of interest in learning, high rate of school absenteeism, poor attendance, repeated grade levels, and old age of the students. Basically, poverty-stricken areas greatly contribute to at-risk males dropping out of school. Battin-Pearson et al. (2000, p. 76) defined five factors that affect the dropout rate, which are deviant behavior, bonding with antisocial peers, low school bonding, parents’ lack of knowledge, and low socioeconomic status. According to them, students have a high rate of dropping out due to low academic achievement in school. The effects of these factors were that at-risk males would give up education before their fourth year in high school.

Are at-risk males a national disaster?

It is better to prevent now rather than cure later. Today’s adults should devote their time and energy in taking care of the at-risk youths if they wish to have a strong crop in the future that are competitive and can make an impact in the economy. Consequently, the reverse is true in today’s world as demonstrated by the fact that merely 70% of the youth are receiving quality education (Barr & Parrett, 1997, p. 56). In today’s society, at-risk males do not just impact the society negatively, but also affects the whole nation as demonstrated by the fact that the high school drop rate has risen to 25% (Conrath, 1994, p. 86). He adds that at-risk males who have dropped out of high school comprises of nearly three quarter of the inmates in the local penitentiary centers (Conrath, 1994, p. 86). The taxpayers normally pay six times as much to cater for prison inmates than they pay to support the education of children in schools (Conrath, 1994, p. 86).

The rate of dropout has become very hard to control, and this has led to the emergence of a crisis that costs the taxpayers a lot of money. For instance, the U.S. government spends an annual amount exceeding $250 billion to cater for the unemployed, prison inmates and juvenile delinquents (Conrath, 1994, p. 86). More than 25% of the youth drop out of high school before graduating in the U.S. The cost of money used by the government to fight drug abuse, to deal with teenage pregnancies, and to tame delinquents is far much higher than the cost of money the government could have used to prevent their occurrences (Roderick, 1993, p. 64).

The economic brunt of male students dropping out of high school takes the form of increased taxation to take care of their comfort. This rate of tax increases is due to the fact that the government does not generate tax from the youth in prisons or juveniles who would otherwise have been working had they not dropped out of school (Kronick, 1997, p. 53). Therefore, at-risk males should not be assumed any more. The costs involved in restoring them are very high. The community cannot afford to neglect the budding population of at-risk youths who are regarded as the future leaders (Brendtro et al., 1990, p. 63).

Intervention programs are incorporated in primary and secondary schools, colleges, churches, recreational camps, and neighboring communities to mentor at-risk males to ensure that they graduate from high school (Hickman & Wright, 2011, p. 52). Studies have shown that an intervention program “Rite of Passage” (ROP) was designed to assist strengthening at-risk males from socioeconomic class to understand the purpose of self-integrity (Brendtro et al., 1990, p. 63). ROP programs discovered that at-risk male families are Eurocentric. Counselors use these programs to identify with socioeconomic cultures. Programs must have a designed mission and vision with a purpose to serve a community as a whole. The ROP programs channel their strength and support to at-risk male’s and their families’ culture by building a connection and assisting with emotions or feelings. The goal of the program is to have a mentor to give expert advice to the at-risk male students for the intended purpose of supporting him/her so as to graduate from high school (Frels et al., 2013, p. 53).

The plight of the abandoned at-risk males has become surprising. With this rate, the country can be in a deep crisis in the future that will divide it along the lines of education, rather than dividing it along the lines of culture or race (Roderick, 1993, p. 51). The educated groups are set apart by getting high paying white collar jobs, while the uneducated will just have to do with low paying casual jobs. The highest number of high school dropouts was registered in the 1980s. The higher the dropout rate, the higher the costs associated with the dropout rates (Bickel & Howley 2000, p. 274; Calabrese, Goodvin & Niles, 2005, p. 442). This drew two concerns in the U.S. The first concern was attributed to the fact that the education system in America might have been failing. The second concern was the fact that the students who dropped out were from poverty stricken areas or areas with low socioeconomic development (Roderick, 1993, p. 51).

The labor market is also affected by the presence of at-risk males. This is due to the fact that these youths are the most significant source of human capital. Their talents and skills are very vital for the realization of economic growth. As a result, the labor market is highly affected as the number of the youth joining the labor force is declining, while the population of at-risk male students are constantly rising (Schlechty, 2001, p. 68; Schlechty, 2002, p. 164). The economy can, therefore, be strengthened by preventing the incidents of dropout rather than curing them. It is normally a reality that the at-risk males who drop out of schools have a bleak future as compared to their counterparts who manage to graduate from schools (Schlechty, 2002, p. 165).

Indicated research stated that at-risk males need mentors to guide their path of success in graduating from school. According to Cutshall (2001, p. 36), students who have mentors are less likely to be involved in irrational behaviors (drugs, alcohol, violence, and truancy). Rockwell (1997, p. 113) stated that individuals who are in close contact with students, such as administrators, teachers, security personnel, and staff are considered as mentors for those students. The principle goal of various programs is to discover the efforts of at-risk males graduating from high school and attending a post-secondary intuition. The research reviewed the objective of the programs, responsibilities, effectiveness, and impact for at-risk males’ educational success.

Changes in family, school and community

The rate of change in today’s society is very alarming. It is recommended that people should change with the changes in the society in order to survive. In as much as it is not easy to change, the family, the school, and the community all have to change (Reavis et al., 1999, p. 15). It is important to change together without leaving anyone behind so that the whole community can move forward together. The youth can move forward when the family, the school, and the community all integrates resources to cater for the needs of the at-risk males. In addition, the education system is rendered ineffective when the needs of the youth are not achieved (Reavis, et al., 1999, p. 15).

The role played by the community towards safeguarding the welfare of the youth is very significant (Conrath, 1994, p. 5). The community needs the support of the economy, families and schools. The families should monitor whether their children attend schools. The economy should also create opportunities that accommodate the youth, especially at-risk males. It is very discouraging for a community to accept poverty as a natural spectacle (Conrath, 1994, p. 3).

Recent studies support the argument that school heads have considerable impact on student performance. This is because they create structures and processes that support academic excellence (Robinson, Lloyd & Rowe, 2008, p. 636; Mulford & Silins, 2009, p. 62). According to Heck and Hallinger (2010, p. 99), the main responsibility of a leader is to define the key areas that need to be improved within an institution. Besides supporting coaching and learning, leadership also executes strategic plans, which creates sustainable growth and progress (Heck & Hallinger, 2010, p. 99).

The role of the principal leadership is molded by the institution’s culture and personal vision (Heck & Hallinger, 2010, p. 99). The current practices call for staff empowerment. Staff empowerment promotes changes in job configuration, main and co-curricular, teaching programs. This can be efficiently achieved in a flexible environment (Heck & Hallinger, 2010, p. 100). Studies show that most successful high schools in the US are schools that have incorporated research-based, all-inclusive program. These programs ensure that educators have correct information to establish the degree of students’ comprehension per subject (Whitehouse, 2009, p. 20).

According to Chapman and Tunmer (1995, p. 155), even children who have not joined high school are already aware of the concept of academic capability. This has also contributed to the above mentioned risk factors due to the sensitivity of the subject (Lingo, Slaton & Jolivette, 2006, p. 268). For this reason, the argument that most students, especially at-risk males are very perceptive to the performance of their classmates is justified. The segregation of students by the principals in accordance with their performance, which is very common in some schools, can have far reaching implications on the part of underachievers. Palumbo and Sanacore (2009, p. 277) documented the relationship between school performance and the attitude of at-risk males. In review of a number of studies, McIntosh et al. (2008) established a significant relationship between underachievers and behavioral problems.

Focused literacy programs and reading intervention

Reeves (2003) concluded a review of studies carried out in schools situated in low income neighborhoods that had shown high academic achievement. These schools were referred to as 90.90.90 schools. This is because 90% of students in these schools were from the marginalized ethnic groups, 90% came from a poor background and 90% were high achievers. These studies were conducted from mid to late 90s. The studies focused on primary and secondary schools. The study established a relationship between socioeconomic status and at-risk male students. He found no link between demographic features and academic achievement (Reeves, 2003, p. 98).

The study shows that public schools in the State of Virginia, where nearly 70 percent were African Americans displayed upbeat trends in performance owing to the free feeding program (Reeves, 2003, p. 100). All children in public schools in the State of Virginia passed the basic proficiency test in reading and writing. In Milwaukee, over ninety percent of students surpassed the set standards. The performance of students in Wayne Townships had significantly improved.

Reeve (2003, p. 102) acknowledged the fact that poverty still remains the biggest challenge in helping at-risk males. The urban settings lead in the high levels of poverty. Reeve upholds that excellent performance is only possible in urban high schools that take care of at-risk males. However, the critics link academic performance to adequate preparation instead of an organized process, which entail paying close attention to each student and not relenting in an effort to help them. According to Reeves (2003, p. 104), socioeconomic factors, not only affects students, but also their parents and school staff who are forced to go an extra mile in helping the affected students. Schools with high number of at-risk males are not limited to the urban setting. They are also found in the uptown and the countryside.

In the last four decades, the main goal of high school education has been increasing awareness of the special needs and capabilities of at-risk males. In the last ten years, these goals have been advanced by those who believe in the school of thought that reading and writing are very important tools for the realization of academic success (Stevens, 2003, p. 137). Poor reading skills significantly contribute to academic failure among at-risk males. In addition, students who lack reading proficiency are highly likely to drop out of school. The high level of dropouts is not limited to urban settings, but also suburban and rural setting (Stevens, 2003, p. 138).

Given the current focus on at-risk males, many studies are now examining ways of enhancing their academic skills, especially reading and writing skills. Reading and writing skills are greatly linked to academic achievement and dropout rate (Stevens, 2003, p. 138). The tag “at-risk” often make it very difficult for students to settle into their new identity (Stevens, 2003, p. 139). Stevens (2003, p. 139) suggests that the intervention programs are required to not only assist at-risk males with their scholarly needs, but also to see to their instructional, inspirational and societal needs.

Fisher and Frey (2007) support Steven’s study. They were concerned with some of the concepts used in the public high schools. They believe that the concepts used in public school contribute to low academic achievement and impetus, which subsequently leads to low turnout and attachment. Supovitz et al. (2010) emphasized on the impact of school heads on students’ performance. The results of their study showed a considerable link to art subjects as opposed to the sciences. According to Hickman and Wright (2011, p. 28), the concepts being used in high schools today are meant to provide at-risk males with confidence and a feeling of self-worth.

Stevens (2003, p. 149) recapitulated a study of an innovative literacy approach in the junior high schools for at-risk males and concluded that a multifarious approach could help to enhance academic achievement and motivation of at-risk males. Most studies show that high school curriculums do not take into consideration the expectation and needs of at-risk males, especially in reading and language art. Steven (2003, p. 150) advocated for the streamlining of the high school curriculum and reading instructions using research-based concepts to motivate and enhance the performance of at-risk males.

Steven (2003, p. 150) recommended cooperative learning communities where teaching takes the form of group participation. In this case, each and every student takes part in reading and gets criticism from other students. This is very critical in helping at-risk males retain and recollect what they have learned. It also creates a sense of belonging and prevents the feeling of being isolated. According to Ma’yan (2010, p. 647), each and every students should be able to make their voice heard in an atypical way. Detached students are normally misunderstood by educators who are not aware of the literal challenges these students go through outside the classroom setting. The selection of literature books for both individual and group reading, which can lead to open dialogue, is one of the strategies that have been used to assist at-risk males. This kind of strategy creates an exciting reading experience (Ma’yan, 2010, p. 648). Ma’yan (2010, p. 648) recommends age-appropriate literatures that represent cultural diversity among its characters.

The current studies in the field of literacy instruction are focused on the experience of at-risk male students in high school (Donahue et al., 1999; Hargrove & Seay, 2011; Washington, 2010). To comprehensively address this subject, researchers have come up with novel approaches to assess the benefits of group activities in enhancing the learning experience of at-risk high school students (Hargrove & Seay, 2011). The novel approaches are based on quantitative techniques that make use of particular indicators, which naturally include comprehensive reading, language mastery and test scores. The collection of data for this kind of research is generally based on statistical information obtained from instructors or school administrators.

Steven (2003, p. 157) highlighted some of the intervention measures that have been reported by different studies. They include (a) enhancement of reading proficiency (b) enhancing reading and writing skills through peers (c) cooperative learning through group work (d) innovative approaches that promotes inclusiveness. Reeves (2003, p. 106) emphasizes that educators should concentrate on reading and writing skills since they enhance student prospects in various topics. Reeves’ was not concerned with various intervention programs targeting at-risk male high school students, but on different attempts to enhance their academic skills.

As a matter of fact, the 90.90.90 research did not use national or district exams as the only measurement of academic performance or students’ success. Data from different districts show that students from underprivileged backgrounds were improving spectacularly. Even though socioeconomic status was linked to poor academic achievement, the study confirms that the enhancements in teaching, programs of study and leadership played a very important role in students’ success (Reeves, 2003, p. 107).

In addition, the perception of at-risk males has changed since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind act and Adequate Yearly Progress. In the past, stakeholders in the education sector did not pay close attention to high standards when it comes to at-risk males (Weinstein, 2002, p. 10). Currently, educators have acknowledged the fact that the success of all students cannot be realized without paying attention to at-risk males. For this reason, educators are now embracing a new philosophy and strategies to help at-risk males become self-sufficient and protracted readers (Weinstein, 2002, p. 11). The principle goal of the new approaches is to offer learning strategies that would help to improve the performance of at-risk males (Weinstein, 2002, p. 12).

The recent data show a significant demographic shift in the number of students who are able to read and write. All states and districts showed positive signs. The scores are increasingly becoming higher and higher for all students (US Department of Education, 2009, p. 80). There has also been an increase in the number of students from the minority groups who have made gains in reading over the last decade. However, the African Americans are still trailing other ethnic minority groups in reading proficiency. In addition, the gap between the white students and the ethnic minority groups has not changed significantly (US Department of Education, 2009, p. 82).

Constructive student-teacher relationship

Generally, the relationship between students and teachers has a considerable influence on students’ performance and achievement (Frels et al, 2013, p. 620). According to Parsley and Corcoran (2003, p. 84), the relationship between teachers and students can predict/shape the student’s future life. They add that the foundation for failure or success in life usually arises from experiences in school. In addition, teachers command a remarkable influence on the performance and achievement of students from pre-unit to university education. They normally help at-risk male students to adjust (Parsley & Corcoran, 2003, p. 84).

There is no single element that endangers students’ experience at school, nor is there a single solution to poor performance and achievement (Parsley & Corcoran, 2003, p. 84). However, emphasis on the teacher-student relations is one feasible solution for enhancing academic performance and achievement of at-risk male students. The development of a constructive teacher-student relationship entails reverence, civility and shared responsibility. The three qualities are enough to convince at-risk male students that each and every student is valued in the classroom (Parsley & Corcoran, 2003, p. 85).

McClure et al. (2010, p. 5), emphasizes on four factors that could enhance the relationship between students and teachers. First, students and teachers must be bound by the trust. Second, teachers must show compassion to each and every at-risk male student. Third, teachers must create a classroom environment where at-risk male students feel very secure and relaxed. Last but not least, educators should build an environment that enables at-risk males feel they belong. A positive classroom environment can be created through constructive reinforcements. This ensures that all at-risk male students get all the necessary help they require (McClure et al., 2010, p. 6).

Peart and Campbell (1999) research addressed the student-teacher relationship by evaluating student’s view point on teachers’ helpfulness. The study targeted African American adults who were either high school or college dropouts. Each and every participant narrated their school experience, particularly as regards teachers’ helpfulness. The research outcomes show common attributes among teachers who are regarded as helpful. With the establishment of an empathetic relationship, teachers with excellent communication skills have a significant impact on the student’s performance and academic achievement.

A constructive relationship improves the learning experience of at-risk male students, as well as the environment of the class (Lan & Lanthier, 2003, p. 329). In accordance with Lan and Lanthier (2003, p. 329), teachers handling at-risk male students should be able to address their feelings, principles and conducts, as well as their cognitive capability. They add that students’ perception is influenced by the educators’ ability to promote constructive relationships with them, which include caring for their educational and psychological well being.

Numerous studies have shown that student-teachers relationship has considerable impact on the performance of male at-risk males (Frels et al, 2013; McClure et al., 2010; Supovitz et al., 2010; Reeves, 2003). According to Heck and Hallinger (2010, p. 98), the teacher quality is a very important variable for the performance of at-risk males. They highlighted attributes of a well performing school. Lan and Lanthier (2003, p. 328) research established that positive student-teacher relationship results in higher academic performance among at-risk males. The teacher-student relationship must be supported by effective teaching and school headship. The study demonstrates that although leadership is a precursor to excellent performance, both the leadership and its effect are influenced by past and present environment of the institutions (Heck & Hallinger, 2010, p. 100). Easton (2008), an experienced high school teacher for at-risk male students, emphasized on the significance of educators and school leadership forging sincere and overt relationships with students in order to enhance their performance.

Teachers are the main components when it comes to shaping students’ behavioral and reading challenges (Sturtevant & Linek, 2003, p. 78). Sturtevant and Linek (2003) carried out a research to look at the impact of teacher-students relations on literacy and content development. The teachers were selected from a group of well-known educators who have been applying various literacy intervention programs. The study examined the impact of these programs on literacy development among at-risk males (Sturtevant & Linek, 2003, p. 79).

The study was based on a qualitative approach with a systematic description of each relevant individual. The study also involved a cross-case analysis of all the responses. The research questions include the school’s environment, reading styles used, and teaching strategies used (Sturtevant & Linek, 2003, p. 79). The results showed that the educators acknowledged that students’ performance can only be enhanced by engaging them in the learning process. The educators also acknowledged that the learning process should be linked to the real life situation so as to help at-risk males in their future endeavors. In addition, all the teachers interviewed acknowledged the need to develop an inherent relationship with students. Positive teacher-student relations will help to create confidence and a feeling of self-worth among students (Sturtevant & Linek, 2003, p. 80).

The literacy intervention programs used by most of the interviewed teachers emphasized on the creation of “lifelong learners”. The programs were also aimed at promoting literacy among at-risk males. In addition, the results show that the educators were deeply concerned about their students and their education. As a result, they worked very hard to develop appropriate tools that could help to improve the achievement of these students both in and out of the classroom (Sturtevant & Linek, 2003, p. 80).

Future studies on the impact of the teacher-student relationship on student’s behavior could help educators connect their classroom culture and enhance the school’s overall performance (Sturtevant & Linek, 2003, p. 80). Sturtevant and Linek (2003) research exhibited the significance of teachers’ instructional decisions, particularly when they are linked to the performance of at-risk males. According to Stanovich (1986, p. 370), one of the most significant predictors of reading proficiency among students is their socioeconomic status. The students who lack reading proficiency tend to suffer inexplicably.

Stanovich (1986, p. 370) uses the term “Mathew Effect” to describe the state of at-risk males. He explains that when the at-risk males start to perform poorly, the quicker they plunge the further they lag behind in each subsequent level. For this reason, it is of the essence that the educators emphasize on the pertinent information regarding the lasting impact of letting students lag extremely far behind. Slavin et al. (2008, p. 293) recommends remedial training in reading and writing techniques.

Students who lack reading proficiency often tend to believe they are inept, especially when they perform poorly in exams. Most stakeholders link this ineptitude to poverty and ethnicity (Staff & Kreager, 2008, p. 450). However, the study conducted by Reeves (2003) in the Milwaukee Public Schools shows excellent performance among students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnic minority groups. This is mainly attributed to the various intervention programs introduced by these schools and adequate support student offered by the teachers.

Abbott, Joireman and Stroh (2002) were concerned about the common beliefs about at-risk males in general. Some authors have suggested that performance in schools harboring at-risk males can only be enhanced by exempting these students from the conventional tests. The origin of such ideologies can be traced back to four decades ago when the academic institutions were first integrated (Palumbo & Sanacore, 2009, p. 275). However, Reeves (2003, p. 103) links student’s academic performance to teachers and school heads. Therefore, solution to poor performance of at-risk males solely depends on teachers and school heads. Reeves (2003, p. 104) believes that the main responsibility of teachers is to motivate and inspire students. They should let students know that what matters is not the start of the academic race, but the finish line.

According to the US Department of Education (2009, p. 86), positive gains have been made in advancing reading and writing skills among high school students. The basic reading proficiency test given to students all over the US focuses on analyzing and evaluating the text, merging and construing text, and tracing and recollecting a passage. The scores for students eligible for free school meals and their counterparts who are eligible for subsidized meals did not show significant disparity. Nonetheless, their scores were significantly higher than other at-risk males who did not receive any form of incentive. This shows that there is not an ideal solution for at-risk males in general. However, evidence shows that focused curriculum and positive teacher-student relationship can be used to enhance performance among at-risk males (Washington, 2010, p. 34).

Christle and Yell (2008) conducted a research to establish factors that influence at-risk male students to become delinquent. The study was based on a three-state multidimensional approach that looks at the characteristics that are linked to criminal behavior. The data used in the study were linked to the common risk factors, for instance, poor performance, expulsion and dropout. However, the study didn’t lack limitations. For example, when they were comparing schools, they only focused on low risk and high risk factors. As a result, they neglected other attributes such as location and size.

In their study, Christle and Yell (2008) established that intervention programs for at-risk males vary from one district to another. The most common intervention is the remedial class for classes for poor performers. Another approach focuses on protective factors, where at-risk males are identified and given the necessary support they require, including care and devotion. However, this approach depends on the existing intervention plan and school personnel’s commitment to the plan. It involves paying close attention to the development of at-risk males.

Impact of the intervention Programs and practices on at-risk male students

The problems facing male at-risk high school students are mainly attributed to socioeconomic challenges. In the last four decades, the global economy is increasingly becoming competitive in nature. For this reason, people are not only going to school to acquire knowledge, but also to enhance their socioeconomic well being. Highly educated employees are currently getting higher wages/salaries, whereas less educated individuals have seen their salaries/wages plummet. Despite of these facts, more and more students, especially at-risk male students are dropping out of schools and engaging in criminal activities.

As a result, schools, churches and community-based organizations have initiated numerous programs and practices to help at-risk students, especially male students who are the most vulnerable. The most common intervention programs targeting at-risk male students include group counseling based on community Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) program, Rite of Passage (ROP) program, Motivated Action towards Achievement and Transformation (MAAT), and the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project. On the other hand, the most common practices aimed at enhancing performance and achievement of at-risk males as per the literature review include (a) strong leadership from school heads (b) focused programs and reading intervention (c) constructive student-teacher relationship.

However, one of the main concerns among the critics of these programs and practices is their impact on male at-risk males. All the programs and practices targeting at-risk male students have similar objectives, that is, help the students improve their academic performance and achievement. However, these programs and practices vary in their goals and services. Some programs focus on novel teaching and programs of study and, therefore, provide students with better options academically. These programs offer more individual attention and numerous forms of psychoanalysis and counseling services.

According to Gur and Miller (2004, p. 576), at-risk male students in various intervention programs have lower dropout rates and higher completion rates. In addition, they have a positive individual and social outcome, for instance, low rate of early pregnancy, low criminal records, high self-esteem, and high level of control. A study conducted by Hargrove and Seay (2011) shows that interventions targeting at-risk males always achieve nearly the same results, hence they are all significant in the war against the already mentioned risk factors. However, Heck and Hallinger (2010) argue that these programs can help at-risk males’ better results and complete high school, but they do not guarantee anything after high school.

McClure et al. (2010, p. 12) argued that intervention programs targeting at-risk male students can help to improve their attitudes. This is because these programs emphasize on affirmative messages, supportive contacts with adult role models or mentors, and attempt to uplift the students’ ambitions. They add that, even though these programs are not created to openly affect the societal outcomes such as drug abuse and delinquency among others, they can have an impact on the social outcomes indirectly. They can achieve all this by offering a sound environment both in and outside the school.

Intervention programs being used in high schools today are meant to provide at-risk male students with confidence and a feeling of self-worth (Hickman & Wright, 2011, p. 28). Studies link low confidence and self-esteem to at-risk behaviors. Low self-esteem and confidence are also linked to academic performance and achievement, which may affect an individual’s adult life (Anderson, 2011, p. 10). According to Anderson (2011, p. 13), at-risk student’s general conduct is a function of self-belief and belief in academic potential. Generally, students tend to maintain a level of performance that is consistent with their self-belief and their academic potential. For that reason, intervention programs aim to change such perception and improve their self-esteem.

According to Mitchell et al. (2002, p. 144), Motivated Action towards Achievement and Transformation (MAAT) fosters resilience among at-risk male students. The program centers on study habits, co-curricular activities, academic sessions, and counseling/mentoring to reflect the students’ belief in the cardinal virtues. In other words, it helps at-risk male students to be physically, psychologically and academically balanced. The program engages educators, mentors, family members and the community at large in creating a favorable environment for at-risk male students (Mitchell et al., 2002, p. 143).

McClendon, Nettles and Wigfield (2000) conducted a study to determine the impact of PASS Program on at-risk male students. PASS is an intervention program that shares a lot with Motivated Action towards Achievement and Transformation program. The study targeted more than 900 students across five districts. The study evaluated at-risk male students under PASS program, as well as at-risk males who did to take part in any program. It used grade points and observations to evaluate both sets of students. Based on the outcomes of the study, McClendon et al. (2000, p. 306) concluded that the program was able to stabilize and enhance grades of at-risk male students. On the other hand, students who did not take part in the program showed signs of poor performance. However, the benefits of the program were not statistically significant.

Conceptual framework

The main goal of this study was to examine the effects of intervention programs on at-risk high school males. The study explored the risk factors that contribute to a child to be rendered at-risk. Some of the risk factors that were explored in the study included: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure.

Conceptual framework.
Figure 2.1 Conceptual framework.

Summary

The studies presented in this chapter were chosen to establish and provide facts on programs and practices that have helped to enhance academic performance and achievement of at-risk males in high school. In summary, there are a number of similarities and disparities in the core programs and practices that are aimed at improving academic performance and achievement of at-risk high school male students. The most common programs used in and outside schools to manage and assist at-risk male students as per the above studies include group counseling based on community Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) program, Rite of Passage (ROP) program, Motivated Action towards Achievement and Transformation (MAAT), and the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project. The main similarity among these programs is the use of an adult role model or counselor to influence the performance and behavior of at-risk high school male students. In addition, these programs aim at enhancing performance and achievement of at-risk males and other youthful persons in the society. However, the disparity is on the principal goals and objectives of each program.

The group counseling based on community Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) program targets male school going children and drop outs that are in trouble with the law. The main purpose of this program is for at-risk adolescents to be provided with additional support rather than alternative educational centers. Rite of Passage (ROP), on the other hand, is designed to help strength at-risk male students from low socioeconomic class to understand the purpose of self-integrity. The mission and vision of this program are designed to serve the community as a whole. The ROP programs channel their strength and support to at-risk male students and their families.

The Project 2000 is designed to provide support to troubled at-risk male students who often perform poorly. It serves as a preventive measure. The main goal of this program is to create a relationship between male mentors and at-risk male students and implemented goals that benefit the student. Motivated Action towards Achievement and Transformation (MAAT) focuses on African American students, but can also be used for other categories of at-risk males. The program consists of African American adult males that teach and mentor adolescent males after school. It emphasizes on the study habits, behavioral issues, and academic achievement, thus increases student’s chances of graduating from high school. Last but not least, the “500 Role Models of Excellence Project” is a dropout prevention program targeting at-risk male students from the ethnic minority groups.

The most common practices aimed at enhancing performance and achievement of at-risk males as per the literature review include (a) strong leadership from school heads (b) focused programs and reading intervention (c) constructive student-teacher relationship (d) constructive parent-student relationship. These practices have been tabulated as shown below.

Dominant Authors Leadership from school heads Relations Curriculum/Reading
Robinson et al. (2008)
Waters et al. (2003)
Reeve (2003)
Supervitz et al. (2010)
Stanovich (1986)
Slavin (1999)
Abbott et al. (2002)
Christie and Yell (2008)
George (2009)
Fisher and Frey (2007)
Ma’yan (2010)
Bossert et al. (1982)
Whitehouse (2009)
Stevens (2003)
Halinger and Heck (1998)
Gur and Miller (2004)
Frels et al. (2013)
Somers and Piliawsky (2004)
Hickman and Wright (2011)
Mitchell, Bush and Bush (2002)
5000 Role Models District Offices (2012)



•••






The tabular comparison of the reviewed research studies offers a basis for acknowledging the significance of reading proficiency, socioeconomic status and ethnicity in examining at-risk male students, and the need for numerous practices that help students in achieving success. These factors are interlinked by astounding headship from school principals, centered intervention programs, and an excellent relationship between students and teachers. With the increased role of state policies that affect the at-risk males, for instance, No Child Left Behind Act and Adequate Yearly Progress, schools are now introducing a variety of intervention programs and practices to uplift the general welfare of the most vulnerable students. No matter the location or settings of these schools, the needs of these students are progressively being met.

Generally, the impact of strong leadership from school heads, focused programs and reading intervention, and constructive student-teacher relationship on at-risk male students can be reviewed and enhanced by gathering discernible data. Most of the studies presented in this review show that lack of reading proficiency has a considerable impact on the underprivileged student’s inclination to drop out of school. Furthermore, there were other obstacles that were presented that could aggravate reading proficiency. Regrettably, some stakeholders in the education sector still generalize at-risk males. This is evident in a number of studies.

The current body of literatures has not fully explored at-risk male students in high schools. The common practices mentioned in the study can be found in all categories of school, for instance, communal and private schools, ethnic minority schools, metropolitan and countryside schools, and uptown schools. By analyzing schools that have successfully tackled the challenges of at-risk males with poor reading proficiency, studies could also be conducted to examine the impact of reading proficiency and focused programs and reading intervention on the performance and achievement of at-risk males. Quite a few prospects for further studies surfaced from the review of the above literatures. The study suggests that school leadership in some way help to enhance the overall performance and achievement of at-risk male students, but it could be more effective when other elements are also factored in. These elements include school culture and programs of study (Heck & Hallinger, 2010, p 99).

With more studies cropping up, it is expected that every educator will have all the required information considered necessary to assist at-risk male students, and that intervention programs will be available to each and every student. Such changes would require additional studies. These studies will ensure that no child is left behind when it comes to education and other socioeconomic matters. Nearly all the reviewed literatures impress that intervention programs, school practices and team approach are the only means of promoting academic success and achievement of at-risk male students.

These studies are very steadfast in their message, which implies that the success of at-risk male students requires sacrifice from all the parties involved, that is, teachers, parents and the community at large. In order to help these students, one has to be highly committed, empathetic and have a strong willpower. It also requires a strong bond between teachers and students. In addition, the intervention programs and practices targeting at-risk males requires strong alliances with the community-based organizations, churches and community leaders. The main message from the reviewed studies was that educators should never give up on at-risk male students.

Research Design and Methodology

Introduction

Methodology is the process of instructing the ways to do the research. It is, therefore, convenient for conducting the research and for analyzing the research questions. The process of methodology insists that much care should be given to the kinds and nature of procedures to be adhered to in accomplishing a given set of procedures or an objective. This part includes the research design, the sample and the methods that were used in gathering information. It also contains the data analysis methods, validity and reliability of data and the limitation of the study. In regards to the literature that was reviewed, the researcher pointed out five independent variables to explore if they have an effect on the academic success of the at-risk males. Their success was exhibited by their GPA (Grade Point Average). The five independent variables identified were: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure.

Plot of the Study

This researcher will examine at-risk males in twelfth grade for the school year 2011-2012 who were enrolled in an intervention program in a rural public high school. For that school year, the school population consisted of 2004 students. As per the ethnic composition, 40.3 % were Black, 48.2% Hispanic, 8.7% White and Asians, and the rest were Indians and other ethnicities. Of the students enrolled, 55.0% were eligible to receive free and reduced lunch, 9.3% were Limited English Proficient (LEP) students, and 19.2% were students with disabilities. In addition, 72% of the student population was enrolled in general educational classes. Fifteen percent of the student population was enrolled in Exceptionally Special Education (ESE) classes. The remaining population, which comprised of 25% enrolled in the intervention program. Over the past 15 years, students at the twelfth grade were offered several courses to make-up failed academic classes. The make-up classes were held during after-school or summer school to prevent students from dropping out. The school year of 2011-2012 was the first time that remedial classes were offered during school hours for 10th and 11th graders to monitor the academic success and to reduce the dropout rate.

According to Florida Department of Education (2012), this school classification is titled “I”, because the student population is in need of intervention programs, progress monitoring, and school support. Title “I” funding is given to schools because the majority of students belong to low-economic status. At-risk male students attend different academic programs, which include: Law and Public Services, Culinary Arts & Hospitality, Business & Information Technology, Visual & Performing Arts, Education, Health Science, and Advanced Placement Laureate Academy. Several at-risk males joined the dropout prevention program.

There are dropout intervention programs implemented in various public schools within South Florida. The mission statement of the intervention program is to intervene in the lives of at-risk males and to provide them with alternative routes that will ensure they have a successful life in their community. This program is designed for at-risk males ranging between the ages of 9 to19 years that are at-risk of academic failure or exposed to a life of criminal activity. This program has various plans in place to achieve the intended goal of instilling a positive and successful male role model in the lives of the at-risk male students. Therefore, it will implement effective mentorship strategies, promote motivational, academic success, and equip these males with skills to deter them from a life of crime.

The intervention program focuses on at-risk males that lack academic achievement and tend to drop out. The program’s focus is to expose at-risk males to an array of opportunities to attend post-secondary educational institutions. Intervention programs emphasize on the reduction of the school dropout rates of the at-risk males. The intervention program has several components. The components focus on academic achievement through FCAT tutoring and ACT, and SAT workshops. There are no existing statistical data of achievement and underachievement pertaining to these at-risk males at the rural public high school. The program has not examined the dropout rate of those males enrolled in the program. No indicated statistical data for the effectiveness of this intervention program show any evidence of the reduction in the dropout rates amongst these males.

Positive and negative interaction with the mentor and mentee can be a critical factor regarding an effective or ineffective outcome of mentoring programs. This program has over 6,000 participants, including volunteers to aid the continued focus of teaching these males on how to transition from at-risk males into positive males that will be worthy of emulation in their communities. The school district, corporations, and private entities support this intervention. Therefore, the program involves various stakeholders who value the mission, vision, and goal.

Research design and questions

The study adopted a quantitative approach. It involved collecting descriptive data with the aim of exploring the relationships among the variables. This research study examines the problem of the high dropout rate among at-risk high school males. The purpose of this study is to analyze archival data to determine the impact of the program on at-risk males, particularly the impact on the dropout rate. The dependent variable is the intervention program with two levels: participation in the program and non participation in the program. The independent variables are absenteeism, behavioral referrals, and GPA’s. The following research questions will be addressed:

  • Research Question 1: Is there a difference in absenteeism between at-risk males participating in the intervention program and those not participating in the program?
  • Research Question 2: Is there a difference in behavioral referrals between at-risk males participating in the intervention program and those not participating in the program?
  • Research Question 3: Is there a difference in GPAs between at-risk males participating in the intervention program and those not participating in the program?

The study identified five risk factors to measure the variables and these were: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. The researcher investigated the extent to which the risk factors influenced the performance of the at-risk males.

Study population and sample

The study population comprised of the12th grade high school students. A population of 639 students was used. The students were given the chance to contribute to the study and their rate of response was noted as the researcher collected the data. The researcher already had the demographic profiles of each student, which he got from the school district. The demographic profiles that were provided include information containing the age of the student, the gender, the race, the class position, and the latest grade point average. The information concerning the socioeconomic status of the students were reported by the individual students by themselves. The students indicated whether they were on a free lunch program or reduced lunch program, and also whether their parents owned a home or rented one. In addition, the students were to specify whether they come from a single parenthood set up or not. The gathered data were then divided into two groups, for instance, the at-risk males and the non-at-risk males. The at-risk males were identified on the basis of their race, single parenthood set up, and free lunch program or reduced lunch program. Therefore, the data gathered from the students who were not considered to be at-risk were not used in this study.

Data collection process

The study used a survey approach. After the researcher had received permission from the parents, guardian and teachers, he conducted the survey in two high schools within the district. In one school, the students were given the survey when they were having their English class, and they all completed the survey. In the other school, the students were assembled in the school’s auditorium and were given the survey to complete. The students who were absent on that day were given the survey in the next week to complete. The questions that were contained in the survey explored the independent variables, which were: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. A Likert scale that had four points was used for the analysis of the data. The points on the Likert scale were represented as follows: 4=Strongly Agree, 3=Agree, 2=Disagree and 1=Strongly Disagree. After data collection, the data were analyzed using SPSS.

Variables

The dependent variable is the intervention program with two levels: participation in the program and no participation in the program. The independent variables are absenteeism, behavioral referrals, and GPA’s. The study identified five risk factors to measure the variables, these were: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. The researcher investigated to what extent these risk factors contributed to the academic achievement of the at-risk males.

Data analysis

The averages of all the variables were analyzed through descriptive statistics. A correlation analysis was done to investigate the level of relationship between the variables. Even if there is a direct relationship between the variables, it is expected that they do not necessarily indicate a ‘cause-effect’ relationship (Glatthorn & Joyner, 2005, p. 53). The study used the Pearson correlation coefficient to analyze the relationship among the independent and dependent variables. In addition, the researcher used a multiple regression analysis to determine if the dependent variable (the GPA scores) were predicted by the independent variables, which is: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. The data analysis was then discussed both in narration and also in charts to answer the research questions.

Limitations of the study

The study used only a population and sample from one district. Also, much of the information in the survey was self-reported by the students. This could lead to the provision of inaccurate and, therefore, misleading information.

Conclusion

The main aim of this study was to examine the effects of an intervention program on at-risk high school males. In regards to the literature that was reviewed, the researcher pointed out five independent variables to explore if they have an effect on the academic success of the at-risk males. A survey was done and statistical tools like correlation analysis and regression analysis were used for data analysis in line with the quantitative research approach.

Results and Analysis

Introduction

The findings and the results of the study are reported in this chapter. The chapter also provides a detailed data analysis of the research. All the gathered data were entered into SPSS and were subsequently analyzed. A T-test analysis was also done.

Purpose of the research

The purpose of the research was to examine the effects of an intervention program for at-risk high school males. In line with this, the research had an overall research question, which was ‘what are the effects of an intervention program for at-risk high school males’. The overall aim of an intervention program is to restore the academic success of the at-risk males, which is reflected by the GPA scores. Therefore, in line with the broad research question, the dependent variable is the intervention program with two levels: participation in the program and non participation in the program. The independent variables are absenteeism, behavioral referrals, and GPA’s. The study identified five risk factors to measure the variables, these were: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. The researcher investigated to what extent these risk factors contributed to the academic achievement of the at-risk males. Both correlation analysis and regression analysis were used to analyze the data.

Results for data population

A population of six hundred and thirty nine students who were in 12th grade was used. Out of the entire population, only 287 students completed the survey and returned them. Out of the returned surveys, only 242 were considered to be eligible. 43 respondents were considered not to be at-risk and two students did not have cumulative grades. Therefore, 45 surveys were eliminated, leaving only 242. The basis for identifying the at-risk status of the students was based on some minority status, for instance, free lunch program or reduced lunch program, and students coming from a single parenthood set-up. The demographic profiles of the students were provided by the school district, while information pertaining to the lunch program or single parenthood was self-reported by the students. The majority of students had more than one risk factor that justifies them to be labeled at-risk. For instance, 83 students (34.30%) had only one risk factor, 85 students (35.12%) had just two risk factors and 74 students (30.58%) were associated with three risk factors. The results are summarized in the Table 4.1 and Table 4.2 below.

Table 4.1 Demographic profiles.

Single parenthood setup Free or cheap lunch Minority status
Y=125 Y=139 Y=203
N=117 N=103 N=39

NOTE Y= Yes, N=No.

Table 4.2 Risk factors.

1 risk factor 2 risk factors 3 risk factors
83 85 74

Procedures for data collection and data coding

All the data that were collected were analyzed using SPSS. The collected data had information pertaining to the age of the students, the gender of the students, the GPAs and the SOL scores for English for the 11th grade. There were three questions in the survey, each demanding a ‘Yes’ or ‘no’ response. The questions sought to know whether the student is on a free or reduced cost lunch program, whether the student hails from a single parenthood set-up, and whether the student lives with a guardian rather than the biological parent. There is a question that sought to know whether the students live in a rented house or if the house is owned by the parents. However, the questions that asked about the ownership of the home or whether the student lives with the biological parents were only used for additional analysis. The survey had 42 questions that touched on five areas including: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. All the questions were measured on a 4 point Likert scale with 1 representing strongly disagree and 4 representing strongly agree. The table below summarizes the coding of variables into SPSS.

Table 4.3 Coding of variables into SPSS.

Variable Label Value Code
Sex Gender Female
Male
1
2
Race Race American
Indian
Asian
Black
Hispanic White
1
2
3
4
5
GPA Grade Point Average Numeric N/A
English 11thgrade SOL score Numeric N/A
Socioeconomic status Free lunch or reduced price lunch Yes
No
1
2
Home ownership Own or rent No idea
Rent
Own
1
2
3
Single parenthood Single parent background Yes
No
1
2

Compound and recorded variables

There were five compound variables that were used in this study. The survey had 42 questions that touched on five areas including: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. A good number of the questions in the survey were specified positively. For instance, the majority of the feedbacks were either ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’. The table below summarizes the recordings of the compound variables.

Table 4.4 Compound variables.

Field Compound variable Questions
The relationship between the student and the teacher Teacher-student relationship 3, 7, 10, 15, 18, 27, 36, 41
The relationship between the parents and the students Parent-student relationship 2, 6, 12, 16, 20, 33, 34
Motivation Motivation 8, 9, 19, 23, 26, 30, 31, 35, 37, 40
Socioeconomic status (SES) Socioeconomics 1, 11, 14, 17, 24, 29, 39
Effect of peer pressure Peer influence 4, 5, 13, 21, 22, 25, 28, 32, 38

NOTE: Question 42 was intentionally ignored due to the fact that it never reflected the field of the parent-student relations.

Research findings

Does the relationship between the teacher and the student forecast the student’s GPA?

There were 8 questions that were associated with the first research question. Out of all the 8 questions, 5 questions were answered by all the 242 respondents, while only 3 questions (27, 36 and 41) were responded to by 238 respondents. The compound variable for the teacher-student relationship produced a big number of positive responses. Out of the 8 questions, 7 questions reflected at least 70%. A linear regression was done to determine whether the GPA scores were predicted by the relationship between the teacher and the students. The research hypothesis was tested, that is, ‘the relationship between the teacher and the student directly impacts the student’s GPA scores’. And the null hypothesis was that ‘there is no connection between the relationship of the teacher and the student with the student’s GPA scores’.

The results of the analysis revealed R = 0.129 as the correlation coefficient. This reflected that the level of correlation between the two variables was weak or negligible. The compound variable had a mean and standard deviation of 23.59 and 4.22 respectively. The results also revealed R2 = 0.017; this indicted the fact that the GPA scores of the students had a variance of 1.7% because of the relationship between the teacher and the students. The null hypothesis was rejected because the variable was statistically significant at 0.47. The variance of 1.7% as a result of the relationship between the teacher and the student was considered to be negligible. Table 4.5 summarizes the results of the composite variable indicating the mean, the standard deviation, the R, and the R2. Table 4.6 summarizes the spread of the means across the grade point average scores. The mean indicated a minimal variance.

Table 4.5 Linear regression results.

Teacher-student relationship Mean Standard deviation R R2 Significance level
23.59 4.22 0.129 0.017 0.47

Table 4.6 Results for mean distributions.

Teacher-student relationship Mean > 3.5 2.5< Mean ≤ 3.5 1.5 < Mean ≤ 2.5 Mean ≤ 1.5
24.38 24.02 22.96 22.91

The researcher studied the data that pertained to the relationship between the teacher and the student. In the variable, the frequencies of each question that was associated with it were calculated. The total population for the study were grouped in different categories of GPA, for instance, GPA > 3.5, 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5 and GPA ≤ 1.5. For the first category of GPA > 3.5, 29 cases were identified. In the second category of 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 105 cases were identified. In the third category of 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5, 96 cases were identified, and in the last category of GPA ≤ 1.5, 12 cases were identified. A great number of responses of variables in the relationship between the teacher and the student were positive, though it was not realized in all the questions.

Does the relationship between the parent and the student forecast the student’s the student’s GPA?

There were 7 questions that were associated with the second research question. The researcher recorded question 12 to measure the second variable. Out of all the 7 questions, 5 questions were answered by all the 242 respondents, while only 2 questions (33 and 34) were responded to by 238 respondents. A linear regression was done to determine whether the GPA scores were predicted by the relationship between the parent and the students. The research hypothesis was tested, that is, ‘the relationship between the parent and the student directly impacts the student’s GPA scores’. And the null hypothesis was that ‘there is no connection between the relationship of the parent and the student with the student’s GPA scores’.

The results of the analysis revealed R = 0.203 as the correlation coefficient. This reflected that the level of correlation between the two variables was weak or negligible. The composite variable had a mean and standard deviation of 18.55 and 3.35 respectively. The results also revealed R2 = 0.041; this indicted the fact that the GPA scores of the students had a variance of 4.1% because of the relationship of the parent and the students. The null hypothesis was rejected because the variable was statistically significant at 0.002. It can be noted that even though the level of significance was less than 0.05, the value of the R2 (0.041) reflected a slight impact on GPA. The variance of 1.7% as a result of the relationship between the parent and the student was considered to be negligible. Table 4.7 summarizes the results of the composite variable indicating the mean, the standard deviation, the R and the R2. Table 4.8 summarizes the spread of the means across the grade point average scores. The mean increased with the GPA, though it indicated a minimal variance.

Table 4.5 Linear regression results.

Parent-student relationship Mean Standard deviation R R2 Significance level
18.85 3.35 0.203 0.041 0.002

Table 4.6 Results for mean distributions.

Parent-student relationship Mean > 3.5 2.5< Mean ≤ 3.5 1.5 < Mean ≤ 2.5 Mean ≤ 1.5
20.52 18.86 18.54 17.09

The researcher studied the data that pertained to the relationship between the parent and the student. In the variable, the frequencies of each question that was associated with it were calculated. The total population for the study were grouped in different categories of GPA, for instance, GPA > 3.5, 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5 and GPA ≤ 1.5. For the first category of GPA > 3.5, 29 cases were identified. In the second category of 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 105 cases were identified. In the third category of 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5, 96 cases were identified, and in the last category of GPA ≤ 1.5, 12 cases were identified. Studying the data using the GPA indicated that the pattern of the responses replicated the responses of the whole group. The responses from the students were a true indication of the at-risk group. This was evident by the fact that many children hailed from a single parenthood set-up and many families had only one sole bread winner who worked two jobs to keep the family going. In addition, the results revealed the poor involvement of parents in PTSA and their absence from school activities.

Does any form of motivation predict the student’s GPA?

There were 10 survey questions that were associated with the third research question. The researcher recorded question 26 to measure the third variable. Out of all the 10 questions, 5 questions were answered by all the 242 respondents, while the other 5 questions (26, 30, 31, 35 and 37) were responded to by 238 respondents. The range of the positive and negative answers was wide (the range was from 29.4% to 97.3%). 90% of the respondents indicated that the students were hard working and were aspiring to join college. 29.4% of the students had the intention to join a job-related school. 47% of the respondents admitted that they were not always punctual in class. A linear regression was done to determine whether the GPA scores were predicted by any form of motivation to the students. The research hypothesis was tested, that is, ‘the motivation of the student directly impacts the student’s GPA scores’. And the null hypothesis was that ‘there is no connection between the motivations of the student with the student’s GPA scores’.

The results of the analysis revealed R = 0.401 as the correlation coefficient. This reflected that the level of correlation between the two variables was reasonable. The composite variable had a mean and standard deviation of 29.28 and 4.2 respectively. The results also revealed R2 = 0.161; this indicted the fact that the GPA scores of the students had a variance of 16.1% because of the motivation of the students. The null hypothesis was redundant since the variable was statistically significant at 0.002. It can be noted that even though the level of significance was less than 0.05, the value of the R2 (0.161) reflected a slight impact on GPA because of the motivation of the students. Still the variable of motivation of the student emerged as the strongest predictor out of all the five variables. Table 4.9 summarizes the results of the composite variable indicating the mean, the standard deviation, the R and the R2. Table 4.10 summarizes the spread of the means across the grade point average scores. The mean increased with the GPA, though it indicated a minimal variance.

Table 4.9 Linear regression results.

Motivation of the student Mean Standard deviation R R2 Significance level
29.28 4.2 0.401 0.161 0.002

Table 4.10 Results for mean distributions.

Motivation of the student Mean > 3.5 2.5< Mean ≤ 3.5 1.5 < Mean ≤ 2.5 Mean ≤ 1.5
32.86 29.83 27.74 27.82

The researcher studied the data that pertained to the motivation of the student. In the variable, the frequencies of each question that was associated with it were calculated. The total population for the study were grouped in different categories of GPA, for instance, GPA > 3.5, 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5 and GPA ≤ 1.5. For the first category of GPA > 3.5, 29 cases were identified. In the second category of 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 105 cases were identified. In the third category of 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5, 96 cases were identified, and in the last category of GPA ≤ 1.5, 12 cases were identified. Many students with varied results spread across the GPA had a self-belief that they were hard workers in school and were self-motivated. The positive responses dropped with the GPA, for instance, the response rate for 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5 was 49% and the response rate for the lowest group GPA ≤ 1.5 was just 27.3%.

Does socioeconomic status of the student forecast the student’s GPA?

There were 7 survey questions that were associated with the fourth research question. The researcher recorded question 29 to measure the fourth variable. Out of all the 7 questions, 5 questions were answered by all the 242 respondents, while the other 2 questions (33 and 34) were responded to by 238 respondents. 70% of the respondents had access to computers and the internet at their residences. In addition, 50% of the respondents revealed that they do part-time jobs to generate incomes to support their families. Also, 50% of the responses revealed that their fathers do not have college degrees and 30% revealed that their mothers do not have college degrees. A linear regression was done to determine whether the GPA scores were predicted by the socioeconomic status of the students. The research hypothesis was tested, that is, ‘the socioeconomic status of the student directly impacts the student’s GPA scores’. And the null hypothesis was that ‘there is no connection between the socioeconomic statuses of the student with the student’s GPA scores’.

The results of the analysis revealed R = 0.200 as the correlation coefficient. This reflected that the level of correlation between the two variables was very weak or negligible. The composite variable had a mean and standard deviation of 18.42 and 3.98 respectively. The results also revealed R2 = 0.040; this indicted the fact that the GPA scores of the students had a variance of 4% because of the socioeconomic status of the students. The null hypothesis was redundant since the variable was statistically significant at 0.002. It can be noted that even though the level of significance was less than 0.05, the value of the R2 (0.040) reflected a slight impact on GPA because of the socioeconomic statuses of the students. Table 4.11 summarizes the results of the composite variable indicating the mean, the standard deviation, the R and the R2. Table 4.12 summarizes the spread of the means across the grade point average scores. The mean increased with the GPA, though it indicated a minimal variance.

Table 4.11 Linear regression results.

Socioeconomic of the student Mean Standard deviation R R2 Significance level
18.42 3.98 0.200 0.040 0.002

Table 4.12 Results for mean distributions.

Socioeconomic of the student Mean > 3.5 2.5< Mean ≤ 3.5 1.5 < Mean ≤ 2.5 Mean ≤ 1.5
20.66 18.18 18.09 17.64

The researcher studied the data that pertained to the socioeconomic status of the student. In the variable, the frequencies of each question that was associated with it were calculated. The total population for the study were grouped in different categories of GPA, for instance, GPA > 3.5, 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5 and GPA ≤ 1.5. For the first category of GPA > 3.5, 29 cases were identified. In the second category of 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 105 cases were identified. In the third category of 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5, 96 cases were identified, and in the last category of GPA ≤ 1.5, 12 cases were identified. The positive responses dropped with the GPA, for instance, the response rate for 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5 was 41.3% and the response rate for the lowest group GPA ≤ 1.5 was just 38.1%.

Does peer pressure forecast the student’s GPA?

There were 9 survey questions that were associated with the fifth research question. The researcher recorded questions 5, 13, 21, 25 and 38 to measure the fifth variable. Out of all the 9 questions, 6 questions were answered by all the 242 respondents, while the other 3 questions (28, 32 and 38) were responded to by 238 respondents. 97.9% of the respondents confirmed that their peers had no qualms when they perform well in school. 27.7% of the responses also confirmed that the students had friends who were members of a gang. 41.4% of the responses indicated that the students had friends who skipped school. 55% claimed to have friends who had dropped out of school and 71% confirmed to have friends who are not punctual to class. A linear regression was done to determine whether the GPA scores were predicted by the socioeconomic status of the students. The research hypothesis was tested, that is, ‘peer pressure on the student directly impacts the student’s GPA scores’. And the null hypothesis was that ‘there is no connection peer pressure on the student with the student’s GPA scores’.

The results of the analysis revealed R = 0.354 as the correlation coefficient. This reflected that the level of correlation between the two variables was moderate. The composite variable had a mean and standard deviation of 26.07 and 3.74 respectively. The results also revealed R2 = 0.126; this indicted the fact that the GPA scores of the students had a variance of 12.6% because of the peer pressure on the students. The null hypothesis was redundant since the variable was statistically significant at 0.003, even though the variance of the GPA (12.6%) was quite large. It can be noted that even though the level of significance was less than 0.05, the value of the R2 (0.040) reflected a slight impact on GPA because of the socioeconomic statuses of the students. Table 4.13 summarizes the results of the composite variable indicating the mean, the standard deviation, the R and the R2. Table 4.14 summarizes the spread of the means across the grade point average scores. The mean increased with the GPA, though it indicated a minimal variance.

Table 4.13 Linear regression results.

Peer pressure Mean Standard deviation R R2 Significance level
26.07 3.74 0.354 0.126 0.002

Table 4.12 Results for mean distributions.

Socioeconomic of the student Mean > 3.5 2.5< Mean ≤ 3.5 1.5 < Mean ≤ 2.5 Mean ≤ 1.5
28.83 26.54 25 17.64

The researcher studied the data that pertained to the effect of peer pressure on the student. In the variable, the frequencies of each question that was associated with it were calculated. The total population for the study were grouped in different categories of GPA, for instance, GPA > 3.5, 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5 and GPA ≤ 1.5. For the first category of GPA > 3.5, 29 cases were identified. In the second category of 2.5< GPA ≤ 3.5, 105 cases were identified. In the third category of 1.5 < GPA ≤ 2.5, 96 cases were identified, and in the last category of GPA ≤ 1.5, 12 cases were identified.

Summary of findings

The data that was collected regarding the relationship between the teacher and the student highlighted the impact of the relationship between the teacher and student on the GPA scores. A regression and correlation analysis was carried out. The summary of the findings is as follows:

There is a positive relationship between the teachers and their students who took part in the survey

All the students who took part in the survey were at-risk and all of them had proceeded to the senior class without dropping out. 83.1% of the respondents confirmed that the teachers paid a lot of attention to their well being. 71.5% were eager to meet their teachers in the class. 82% declared that they were not afraid of asking questions in class. 76.1% indicated that the teachers are highly satisfied if they excel academically. 80.1% confirmed that the teachers gave extra assistance to them. 70.6% were confident that the teachers were pleasing and 67% acknowledged that they got feedbacks from the teachers in regards to their academic progress.

The same data was analyzed by identifying cases centered on the GPA. For the students who had GPA ≤ 1.5, 83% of them have assurances that their teachers do care. Also for the students who had GPA > 5.3, 83.1% of them have assurances that their teachers do care. This indicates that the learning environment provided by the students was good enough. This finding is in conformity with the findings of Parsley and Corcoran (2003, p. 85) who found out that a positive relationship between the teachers and the students created an avenue for the at-risk males to improve in academic performance and not drop out of school.

The data that was collected regarding the relationship between the parent and the student provided results that highlighted the impacts of the relationship between the parent and the student on the GPA scores of the students. A regression and correlation analysis was carried out. The summary of the findings is as follows:

The parents of the students who took part in the survey encouraged the students and expected them to make it to college

The results revealed that 93.3% of the participants acknowledged that their parents or guardians often encouraged them to excel in school. This was demonstrated by the fact that 58.4% of the respondents had been helped by their parents or guardians with their home works. Also, 95.8% of the respondents confirmed that their parents had high expectations that they will make it to college. These findings are in line with the findings of McMillan and Reed (1994, p. 62) who found that the at-risk males who excelled academically had a good healthy relationship with the parents.

The data that was collected regarding the effects of motivation provided results that highlighted the impacts of the motivation of the students on their GPA scores. A regression and correlation analysis was carried out. The summary of the findings is as follows:

There is a positive influence of motivation on the academic excellence of the students; many students are motivated to work hard to earn quality points

The results revealed that 68.6% of the respondents in the survey enjoyed school. On the other hand, 75.2% had set targets in school, while 89.7% had a self-belief that they can do well in their academics. Also, 87% of the respondents admitted that they normally complete their homework on time. These findings are in conformity with the findings of Lumsden (1994, p. 45) who found out that a given level of motivation is essential for the learning process of students. He further asserted that motivation is provided highly by parents and teachers.

The data that was collected regarding the effects of socioeconomic status provided results that highlighted the impacts of the socioeconomic status of the students on their GPA scores. A regression and correlation analysis was carried out. The summary of the findings is as follows:

The socioeconomic status of the students has a slight impact on the academic excellence of the students

The results showed that 30% of the respondents did not access to computers and the internet at their residences. In addition, 50% of the respondents revealed that they do part-time jobs to generate incomes to support their families. 54.7 percent of the students took part in the free and subsidized meals Also, 50% of the responses revealed that their fathers do not have college degrees and 30% revealed that their mothers do not have college degrees. In addition, the results pointed out that out of the respondents, only 64.9% had their families taking them for vacations. Even though the participants of the survey hailed from areas with adverse economic conditions, they still demonstrated the ability to excel in their academics. These results are in line with the findings of Sirin (2005, p. 431), who found a strong association between socioeconomic status of the students and their academic achievement. A resilient student will still strive to succeed academically no matter what background he/she comes from.

The data that was collected regarding the effects of peer pressure provided results that highlighted the impacts of the peer pressure of the students on their GPA scores. A regression and correlation analysis was carried out. The summary of the findings is as follows:

Peer pressure has an influence on the academic achievement of the student; though its influence is moderate

97.9% of the respondents confirmed that their peers had no qualms when they perform well in school. 27.7% of the responses also confirmed that the students had friends who were members of a gang. 41.4% of the responses indicated that the students had friends who skipped school. 55% claimed to have friends who had dropped out of school and 71% confirmed to have friends who are not punctual to class. Ellenbogen and Chamberland (1997, p. 356) found out that at-risk males have a tendency of associating themselves with fellow at-risk males who have a tendency of dropping out of school or even skipping classes. In this study the results revealed that the at-risk males were associated with friends who exhibited negative behaviors. Condly (2006, p. 231) also stated that students who had risk factors in their personalities such as poverty background, low self-esteem, or poor academic results are highly susceptible to peer pressure.

The null hypotheses were rejected due to the fact that the results were statistically significant. It could also be noted that the level of the variance of the GPA varies from one variable to another. Motivation of the students and peer pressure influence of the students were the top two strongest variables in that order. Table 4.15 below gives the summary of the correlation analysis of the composite variables and Table 4.16 gives the summary of the research questions. A T-test was done and the results have been summarized in Table 4.17.

Table 4.15 Correlation summary.

GPA Motivation Teacher-student relationship Parent-teacher relationship Peer pressure Socioeconomics
GPA 1 0.401** 0.129* 0.203** 0.354** 0.200**
Motivation 0.401** 1 0.322** 0.293** 0.361** 0.116
Teacher-student relationship 0.129* 0.322** 1 0.266** 0.136* 0.108
Parent-teacher relationship 0.203** 0.293** 0.266** 1 0.159* 0.404
Peer pressure 0.354** 0.361** 0.136* 0.159 1 0.86
Socioeconomics 0.200** 0.116 0.108 0.404** 0.086 1

NOTE: * = Significant at the 1% level; ** = Significant at the 5% level.

Table 4.16 Research questions’ variable summary.

Research question R2 F df numerator df denominator p R H0
Does the relationship between the teacher and the student forecast the student’s the student’s GPA? 0.017 3.995 1 236 0.047 0.129 Reject
Does the relationship between the parent and the student forecast the student’s GPA? 0.041 10.104 1 236 0.002 0.203 Reject
Does any form of motivation predict the student’s GPA? 0.161 44.29 1 236 0.001 0.401 Reject
Does socioeconomic status of the student forecast the student’s GPA? 0.040 9.884 1 236 0.002 0.200 Reject
Does peer pressure forecast the student’s GPA? 0.126 33.896 1 236 0.003 0.354 Reject

Table 4.17 T-test results.

Levene’s Test for quality of Variance t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t Df Sig.
(2-tailed)
Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
DVWORD Equal variance
assumed
Equal variance
not assumed
1.43 0.257 2.887

2.887

8

6.817

0.020

0.024

2.0000

2.0000

0.6928

0.6928

0.4024

0.3528

3.5976

3.6472

This study revealed that some students still do not have a healthy relationship with their teachers. In addition to this, the results indicated that some students also do not have a healthy relationship with their parents. The relationships between a student and a teacher and between a student and his/her parent are very critical. The students derive their knowledge and motivation from their teachers and parents. Once this motivation is not there, then it becomes very hard to achieve academic success. Schools should initiate strategies that accommodate all the students in a competitive learning set-up.

The research results showed a strong link between academic grades and discipline records. The results also showed an increase in the defining characteristics of at-risk males as children moved from junior high school to high school. Hence, there is a need for intervention programs to curb future dropouts. This research could be questioned due to the application of non-random sampling. The methodology used may have had a significant impact on the outcome of the research, for instance, uniformity of the ethnicity, which could have been considered when conducting the research. In addition, they reported that the number of students in the government’s feeding program was nearly half of the total population. The program covered approximately three quarters of schools in the district. The use of free and subsidized meals was very crucial since the sampled at-risk males were very small. The student of lower socioeconomic status was equal to the total population. In addition, the Latinos, who constitute the minority groups was the largest group in the district.

These studies are very steadfast in their message, which implies that the success of at-risk male students requires sacrifice from all the parties involved, that is, teachers, parents and the community at large. In order to help these students, one has to be highly committed, empathetic and have a strong willpower. It also requires a strong bond between teachers and students. In addition, the intervention programs and practices targeting at-risk males requires strong alliances with the community-based organizations, churches and community leaders. The main message from the reviewed studies was that educators should never give up on at-risk male students.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Introduction

This chapter presents the conclusions and the recommendations of the study. The main objective of this study was to examine the effects of an intervention program for at-risk high school males. It is required that the school proprietors have a clear understanding of the experiences of the students in order to come up with good programs that will enable the at-risk males improve on their academic achievements. The research findings have indicated that the at-risk males do not have the same academic potential as their counterparts. It is therefore very essential to intervene and provide the necessary support to these students so that they can be at par with the rest of the students. The current research identified five risk factors that make the students to be labeled at-risk. These factors were: the relationship between the student and the teacher, the relationship between the parents and the students, the motivations for the students, the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students, and the effect of peer pressure. The risk factors formed the basis of the research questions.

Intervention practices

There are many ways that the schools or the society can intervene in order to help the at-risk males to realize their academic potentials. This study has come up with various suggested intervention practices with regards to the findings.

  1. The school district should create opportunities that enhance the advancement of a healthy relationship between the teachers and the students. This can be achieved through organizing workshops and seminars to share ideas regarding the subject matter.
  2. The parents should also be trained by the school district in regards to the importance of a good relationship with their children towards a great academic success. The schools should come up with programs that accommodate the parents to participate in school’s initiatives and decision making.
  3. All parents expect their children to make it to college. At the same time, the students also have a big priority to work hard to make it to college. Workshops and seminars that focus on scholarship opportunities, career choice and other forms of aids are good forms of incentives to help the parents.
  4. The schools should also enhance timely and precise communications with the parents in regards to the academic progress of the students. This form of communication is very important as the parents are kept in the light with what goes on at school.
  5. Schools should also come up with programs that promote the involvement of the students in various activities in the school such as sports, clubs, and other extra curriculum activities.
  6. The schools through the guidance and counseling department should enhance a healthy peer relations among the students by coming up with appropriate activities, for example carrying out support group talks.
  7. The teachers should put an extra effort to help the at-risk males by giving them extra academic support in terms of tutoring and mobilizing the students to form study groups. This will inculcate the culture of hard work among the students.

Conclusion

Very many educators in today’s society have a great concern to enhance the academic achievements of students in schools and also to bridge the gap between the at-risk males and the no at-risk males. Various support programs should be rolled out to aid the teachers in achieving this goal so that all students are accommodated in the system. No student should be left behind regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, academic performance, or family background. However, the growing population of the at-risk males has made it difficult for educators to realize this goal.

This study revealed that some students still do not have a healthy relationship with their teachers. In addition to this, the results indicated that some students also do not have a healthy relationship with their parents. The relationships between a student and a teacher and between a student and his/her parent are very critical. The students derive their knowledge and motivation from their teachers and parents. Once this motivation is not there, then it becomes very hard to achieve academic success. Schools should initiate strategies that accommodate all the students in a competitive learning set-up.

It has been noted by many researchers that the involvement of the parents in the academic affairs of their children. This diminishing involvement of the parents is as a result of the pressure created by harsh economic conditions. The parents, therefore, prioritize to put more efforts in providing the daily bread for the family. This challenge is in addition to the other challenges that face the at-risk. Actually, the research regarding the effect of the relationship of the parents and the children has produced varied results. Some researchers argue that this relationship has a positive influence while others see that it has negative impacts. Other researchers maintained a neutral ground.

Given the current emphasis on at-risk males, many studies are now exploring methods of enhancing their academic performance. Reading and writing skills are greatly linked to academic achievement and dropout rate. The tag “at-risk” often make it very difficult for students to settle into their new identity. The feeling of detachment can have negative implications, especially when students feel they are already isolated. The intervention programs are required to not only assist at-risk males with their scholarly needs, but also to see to their instructional, inspirational and societal needs.

The management of schools should create a suitable learning environment that supports the academic excellence of the at-risk males. The environment should promote the participation of the students in extra-curriculum activities, and also the students’ interactions with others so as to build their self-esteem and confidence. These positive experiences by the at-risk males will inculcate a sense of togetherness with the rest of the students. The at-risk youth will feel loved and cared for and have a sense of belonging

Recommendations for additional research

The findings of this study revealed that the five identified variables were good predictors of the GPAs of the students. The future researchers should expound more on the five variables to provide clearer evidence on their impacts on the GPAs of the students based on the following recommendations:

  1. This study used a population of at-risk males in the 12th grade who were considered to be a candidate for graduation; their chances of dropping out were limited. The future researchers should therefore use a population of students from 12th grade that has students who may not make it for graduation. Using the five variables, the results can give concrete evidence in regards to what hindered the students from graduating.
  2. The future researchers should also use a population of students who have already dropped out of school in the survey in order to determine clearly what factors made them to drop out.
  3. There should be a follow up survey to target all the students who had responded to this survey in order to know how many of them were successful in the colleges and how many of them got employment.

References

5000 Role Models District Offices. (2012). 5000 Role models of excellence project. Web.

Abbott, M. L., Joireman, J. & Stroh, H. R. (2002). The influence of district size, school size, and socioeconomic status on student achievement in Washington: A replication study using hierarchical linear modeling. Washington School Research Center Technical Report, 3, 1-18.

Alliman-Brissett, A. E., Turner, S. L. & Skovholt, T. M. (2004). Parent support and African American adolescents’ career self-efficacy. Professional School Counseling, 7(3), 124-132.

Alspaugh, J. (1998). The relationship of school and community characteristics to high school drop-out rates. The Clearing House, 71(3), 184-188.

Amerin, A. L. & Berliner, D. C. (2002). High-stakes testing, uncertainty, and student learning. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 10(18), 2-50. Web.

Anderson, H.E. (2011). Effects of Self Esteem Intervention Programs on At-Risk Behaviours of Rural Elementary School Students. Michigan: Northern Michigan University.

Appelstein, C. (1998). No such thing as a bad kid: Understanding and responding to the challenging behavior of troubled children and youth. Weston, MA: The Gifford School.

Arbuthnot, J., & Gordon, D. (1986). Behavioral and cognitive effects of a moral reasoning development intervention for high-risk behavior-disordered adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 208-216.

Archer, L. (2010). Lexile reading growth as a function of starting level in at-risk middle school students. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 54(4), 281-290.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. New York: General Learning Press.

Barr, R. & Parrett, W. (1997). How to create alternative, magnet, and charter schools that work. Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service.

Battin-Pearson, S., Newcomb, M. D., Abbott, R. D., Hill, K. G., Catalano, R. F. & Hawkins, J. D. (2000). Predictors of early high school dropout: A test of five theories. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(3), 568-582.

Bickel, R. & Howley, R. (2000). The influence of scale on school performance: A multilevel extension of the Matthew principle. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8(22), 269-277.

Bloch, D. P. (1989). Using career information with dropouts and at risk youth. Career Development Quarterly, 38, 160-171.

Bossert, S., Dwyer, D., Rowan, B. & Lee, G. (1982). The instructional management role of the principal. Educational Administration Quarterly, 18(3), 34-64.

Brendtro, L., Brokenleg, M., & Van Bockern, S. (1990). Reclaiming youth at-risk: Our hope for the future. Bloomington, IN: National Education Service.

Burchinal, M., Roberts, J., Zeisel, S. & Rowley, S. (2008). Social risk and protective factors for African American children‟s academic achievement and adjustment during the transition to middle school. Developmental Psychology, 44(1) 286-292.

Calabrese, R. L., Goodvin, S. & Niles, R. (2005). Identifying the attitudes and traits of teachers with an at-risk student population in a multicultural urban high school. International Journal of Educational Management, 19(5), 437-449.

Chapman, J. W. & Tunmer, W. E. (1995). Development of children’s reading self-concepts: An examination of emerging sub-components and their relationship with reading achievement. Journal of Education Psychology, 87, 154-167.

Cholewa, B. & West-Olatunji, C. (2008). Exploring the relationship among cultural discontinuity, psychological distress, and academic outcomes with low-income, culturally diverse students. Professional School Counseling, 12(1), 54-61.

Christle, C. & Yell, M. (2008). Preventing youth incarceration through reading remediation: Issues and solutions. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 24, 148-176.

Coleman, J. (1987). Families and schools. Educational Researcher, 16(1), 32-38.

Coleman, J. (2006). The adolescent society: James Coleman’s still-prescient insights. Education Next, 6, 40-43.

Condly, S. J. (2006). Resilience in children: A review of literature with implications for education. Urban Education, 41(3), 211-236.

Conrath, J. (1994). Our other youth. Lopez Island, WA: Jerry Conrath.

Cutshall, S. (2001). Mentoring makes the grade. Association for Career And Technical Education Journal, 76(8), 34-37.

Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Securing the right to learn: Policy and Practice for powerful Teaching and Learning DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Distinguished Lecture. Educational Research, 35(7), 9-21.

Darling-Hammond, L., Williamson, J. & Hyler, M. E. (2007). Securing the right to learn: The quest for an empowering curriculum for African American citizens. Journal of Negro Education, 76(3), 281-296.

Deschenes, S., Cuban, L. & Tyack, D. (2001). Mismatch: Historical perspectives on schools and students who don’t fit them. Teachers College Record, 103(4), 525-547.

Donahue, P. L., Voekl, K. E., Campbell, J. R., & Mazzeo, J. (1999). Reading report card for the nation and states. In National Center for Educational Statistics. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Education.

Dotterer, A. M., McHale, S. M. & Crouter, A. C. (2009). Socio-cultural Factors and School Engagement Among African American Youth: The Roles of Racial Discrimination, Racial Socialization, and Ethnic Identity. Applied Developmental Science, 13(2), 61-73.

Duke, D. L. & Jacobson, M. (2011). Dropping out—by the numbers. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(5), 14-15.

Easton, L. B. (2008). Engaging the disengaged: How schools can help struggling students succeed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Ellenbogen, S. & Chamberland, C. (1997). The peer relations of dropouts: A comparative study of at-risk and not at-risk youths. Journal of Adolescence, 20(1), 355-367.

Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2007). A Tale of two middle schools: The differences in structure and instruction. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 51(3), 204-211.

Florida Department of Education. (2012). FTE General Instruction 2011-2012. Web.

Frels, R., Onwuegbuzie, A., Bustamante, R., Garza, Y., Nelson, J., Nichter, M. & Soto, L.E. (2013). Purposes and approaches of selected mentors in school-based mentoring: A collective case study. Psychology In The Schools, 50(6), 618-633.

Gayles, J. (2005). Playing the game and paying the price: Academic resilience among three high-achieving African American males. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 36(3), 250-264.

George, P. (2009). Renewing the middle school: The early success of middle school education. Middle School Journal, 41(1), 4-9.

Glatthorn, A. A., & Joyner, R. L. (2005). Writing the winning thesis or dissertation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Goslin, D. A. (1969). Social-learning theory of identificatory processes. Handbook of socialization Theory and Research, 3(1), 213-256.

Gross, N., & Herriot, R. (1965). Staff leadership in schools. New York: Wiley.

Gur, M. & Miller, L. (2004). Mentoring Improves Acceptance of a Community Intervention For Court-Referred Male Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS). Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 21(6), 573-591.

Hallinan, M. T. (2008). Teacher Influences on students’ attachment to school. Sociology of Education, 81(3), 271-283.

Hallinger, P. & Heck, R. H. (1998). Exploring the principal‟s contribution to school effectiveness: 1980-1995. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 9(2), 157-191.

Hargrove, B. H. & Seay, S. E. (2011). School teacher perceptions of barriers that limit the participation of African American males in public school gifted programs. Journal for The Education of the Gifted, 34(3), 434-467.

Heck, R. H. & Hallinger, P. (2010). Collaborative leadership and school improvement: Understanding the impact on school capacity and student learning. School Leadership & Management, 30(2), 95-110.

Herr, E. (1989). Counseling in a dynamic society: Opportunities and challenges. Alexandria, VA: American Association for Counseling and Development.

Hickman, G. P. & Wright, D. (2011). Academic and School Behavioral Variables as Predictors of High School Graduation among At-Risk Adolescents Enrolled in a Youth-Based Mentoring Program. Journal Of At-Risk Issues, 16(1), 25-33.

Holland, S. H. (1996). PROJECT 2000: an educational mentoring and academic support model for inner-city African American boys. Journal of Negro Education, 6 (5), 315-321.

Horner, T., Theut, S. & Murdoch, W. (1984). Discharge planning for the high-risk neonate: A consultation-liaison role for the infant mental health specialist. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 56, 625-629.

Irvin, M. J., Farmer, T. W., Leung, M., Thompson, J. H. & Hutchins, B. C. (2010). School, community, and church activities: Relationship to academic achievement of low-income African American early adolescents in the rural deep south. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 25(4), 1-21.

Kahne, J. & Bailey, K. (1999). The role of social capital in youth development: the case of “I Have a Dream” programs. Educational Evaluation & Policy Analysis, 21(3), 321-343.

Kolodinsky, P., Schroder, V. & Montopoli, G. (2006). The career fair as a vehicle for enhancing occupational self-efficacy. Professional School Counseling, 10(2), 161-167.

Kronick, R. (1997). At-risk youth: Theory, practice, reform. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.

Lan, W. & Lanthier, R. (2003). Changes in students‟ academic performance and perceptions of school and self before dropping out of schools. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 8(1), 309-332.

Lingo, A., Slaton, D. & Jolivette, K. (2006). Effects of corrective reading on the reading abilities and classroom behaviors of middle school students with reading deficits and challenging behavior. Behavioral Disorders, 31(3), 265-283.

Lumsden, L. S. (1994). Student Motivation to Learn. Eugene, Oregon: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management.

Lundenburg, F. (1999). Helping dreams survive. Contemporary Education, 71(1), 9-13.

Ma’yan, H. (2010). Erika‟s Stories: Literacy Solutions for a Failing Middle School Student. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(8), 646-654.

Magid, K., & McKelvey, C. A. (1988). High risk: Children without a conscience. New York: Bantam Books.

Margolis, H. & McCabe, P. P. (2004). Self-efficacy: A key to improving the motivation for struggling learners. The Clearing House, 77(6), 241-249.

Mayer, A. P. & Tucker, S. K. (2010). Cultivating students of colour: Strategies for ensuring high academic achievement in middle and secondary schools. Journal of School Leadership, 20(4), 470-490.

McClendon, C., Nettles, S. M., & Wigfield, A. (2000). Fostering resilience in high school classrooms: A study of the PASS program. In M. G. Sanders (Ed.), Schooling

students at risk (pp. 289-307). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

McClure, L., Yonezawa, S. & Jones, M. (2010). Can school structures improve teacher-student relationships? The relationship between advisory programs, personalization and students’ academic achievement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 18(17), 1-18.

McIntosh, K., Flannery, B., Sugai, G., Braun, D. & Cochrane, K. (2008). Relationships between academics and problem behavior in the transition from middle school to high school. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 10(4), 243-255.

McMillan, J. & Reed, D. (1994). At-risk students and resiliency: Factors contributing to academic success. Clearing House, 67(3), 137-140.

Mitchell, K., Bush, E. C. & Bush, L. (2002). Standing in the gap: a model for establishing African American male intervention programs within public schools. Educational Horizons, 80(3), 140-146.

Morris, R. (2000). Curriculum for at-risk students. Carrollton, GA: State University of West Georgia.

Mulford, B. & Silins, H. (2009). Revised models and conceptualization of successful school principalship in Tasmania. International Journal of Educational Management, 25(1), 61-82.

Palumbo, A. & Sanacore, J. (2009). Helping struggling middle school literacy learners achieve success. The Clearing House, 275-280.

Parsley, K. & Corcoran, C. A. (2003). The classroom teacher’s role in preventing school failure. Kappa Delta Pi, 39(2), 84-87.

Peart, N. A., & Campbell, F. A. (1999). At-risk students’ perceptions of teacher effectiveness. Journal for a Just and Caring Education, 5(3), 269-284.

Pollard, R. (2001). Troubled voices: A qualitative inquiry. Education, 121(3), 476-484.

Rashid, H. M. (2009). From Brilliant Baby to Child Placed At Risk: The Perilous Path of African American Boys in Early Childhood Education. Journal of Negro Education, 78(3), 347-358.

Reavis, K., Battalio, R., Osher, D., Rhode, G., Jenson, W. & Hofmeister, A. (1999). If you build it, they will come: A nontraditional approach for systems change. Reaching Today’s Youth, 2(1), 15-17.

Reeves, D. (2003). High performance in high poverty schools: 90/90/90 and beyond. Centre for Performance Assessment.

Robinson, V., Lloyd, C. & Rowe, K. (2008). The impact of leadership on student outcomes: An analysis of the differential effects of leadership types. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(5), 635-74.

Rockwell, S. (1997). Mentoring through accessible, authentic opportunities. Preventing School Failure, 41(1), 111-114.

Roderick, M. (1993). The path to dropping out: Evidence for intervention. Westport, CN: Auburn House.

Schlechty, P. C. (2001). Shaking up the school house. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Schlechty, P. C. (2002). Working on the work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Sirin, S. R. (2005). Socioeconomic status and academic achievement: A meta-analytic review of research. Review of Educational Research, 75(3), 417-453.

Slack, R. (2013). Mentoring “At Risk” Middle School Students. Strategies for Effective Practice. North Carolina Middle School Association Journal, 27 (1), 1-11.

Slavin, R. E., Cheung, A., Groff, C. & Lake, C. (2008). Effective reading programs for middle and high schools: A best-evidence synthesis. Reading Research Quarterly, 43(3), 290-322.

Smith, M. W. & Wilhelm, J. D. (2002). Reading don’t fix no chevys: Literacy in the lives of young men. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Somers, C. L. & Piliawsky, M. (2004). Drop-out prevention among urban, African American adolescents: Program evaluation and practical implications. Preventing School Failure, 48(3), 17-22.

Staff, J. & Kreager, D. A. (2008). Too Cool for School? Violence, Peer Status and High School Dropout. Social Forces, 87(1), 445-471.

Stanovich, K. E. (1986). Matthew effects in reading: some consequences of individual differences in the acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21, 360-406.

Stevens, R. (2003). Student team reading and writing: A cooperative learning approach to junior high school literacy instruction. Educational Research and Evaluation, 9(2), 137-160.

Strother, D. (1986). Dropping out. Phi Delta Kappan, 1, 625-328.

Sturtevant, E. G. & Linek, W. M. (2003). The instructional beliefs and decisions of middle and secondary teachers who successfully blend literacy and content. Reading Research and Instruction, 43(1), 74-89.

Supovitz, J., Sirinides, P. & May, H. (2010). How principals and peers Influence teaching and learning. Educational Administration Quarterly, 46(1), 31-56.

Tough, P. (2006). Web.

US Department of Education. (1983). A nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform. Washington, DC: The National Commission on Excellence in Education.

US Department of Education. (2009). The nation’s report card: Reading 2009. Washington, DC: The National Center for Education Statistics.

US Department of Education. (2004). A Guide to Education and No Child Left Behind. Washington, DC: The National Commission on Excellence in Education.

Washington, A. (2010). Professional school counselors and African American males: Using school/community collaboration to enhance academic performance. Journal of African American Males in Education, 1(1), 26-39.

Waters, T., Marzano, R. J., & McNulty, B. (2003). Balanced leadership: What 30 years of research tells us about the effect of leadership on student achievement. Aurora, CO: Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning.

Weinstein, R. S. (2002). Reaching higher: The power of expectation in schooling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

West-Olatunji, C., Shure, L., Garrett, M. T., Conwill, W. & Rivera, E. (2008). Rite of passage programs as effective tools for fostering resilience among low-income African American male adolescents. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education & Development, 47(2), 131-143.

Whitehouse, S. (2009). Six strategies to help young adolescents at the tipping point in urban middle schools. Middle School Journal, 40(5), 18-21.

Willis, M. (2008). Understanding the at-risk student. The International Journal of Learning, 15(11), 35-39.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Content Validation Instrument

Directions: Circle the number of the appropriate response. Domains

Factors affecting the academic achievement in at-risk males are:

  1. Techer-student relationships
  2. Parent/caregiver relationships
  3. Self-motivation
  4. Socioeconomic status
  5. Peer influence

Association Ratings: 1 = very weak, 2 = weak, 3 = strong, 4 = very strong

Clarity Ratings: 1 = very unclear, delete; 2 = somewhat clear, revise; and 3 = clear, leave as written

(For any items you rate 1 or 2 for clarity or association, please write your suggestions for improvement directly on this page.)

Content Validation Instrument Content Validation Instrument Content Validation Instrument Content Validation Instrument Content Validation Instrument Content Validation Instrument Content Validation Instrument
This dissertation on Effects of an Intervention Program for at-Risk Males was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Dissertation sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2021, April 4). Effects of an Intervention Program for at-Risk Males. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/effects-of-an-intervention-program-for-at-risk-males/

Work Cited

"Effects of an Intervention Program for at-Risk Males." IvyPanda, 4 Apr. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/effects-of-an-intervention-program-for-at-risk-males/.

1. IvyPanda. "Effects of an Intervention Program for at-Risk Males." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/effects-of-an-intervention-program-for-at-risk-males/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Effects of an Intervention Program for at-Risk Males." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/effects-of-an-intervention-program-for-at-risk-males/.

References

IvyPanda. 2021. "Effects of an Intervention Program for at-Risk Males." April 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/effects-of-an-intervention-program-for-at-risk-males/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Effects of an Intervention Program for at-Risk Males'. 4 April.

More related papers
Psst... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Hellen
Online
Psst... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!