School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Jessica Talada


academic achievement gap, fourth-grade failure syndrome, parental involvement




The purpose of this qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study was to examine the lived experiences of Black fathers raising sons and how their experiences and relationships with their sons aid in preventing the fourth-grade failure syndrome and reducing the academic achievement gap for Black boys. The theory guiding this study was Heider’s attribution theory which helps to explain the reasons behind the academic achievement gap and sheds light on ways to close the gap. This study was conducted using the method of qualitative hermeneutic phenomenology. The stories of Black fathers were collected to examine how they have experienced the world, specifically in the realm of education. The study focused on their shared experiences, cultural context, and social phenomena. The setting for this study was the East Coast. The participants in this study were fathers of Black boys. Data were collected through one-on-one interviews, a focus group, and a journal response writing prompt. The data were then organized into themes and coded to examine the participants' common experiences. The study revealed seven themes: expectations, environment, personal traits, influences, obstacles, support/advocacy, and values.

Available for download on Friday, May 24, 2024

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