Academic Disengagement of African American Male Students in Classroom Settings: A Qualitative Descriptive Study

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Wanda Fernandopulle

Committee Member

Donis Toler

Committee Member

Theodore Caleris


This qualitative descriptive study explored how middle school teachers describe the academic disengagement of African American male students in the City of New York. Student engagement is predicated on the belief that learning improves a consciousness of inquisitiveness, interest, motivation, and inspiration; however, when students' learning is stifled, they become susceptible to boredom and dispassion and are otherwise "disengaged" (Groccia, 2018). Academic disengagement, particularly in adolescence, can have sustained impacts for students by contributing to problematic and detrimental behaviors and misconduct (Henry et al., 2012; Wang & Fredricks, 2014). African American youth have an increased risk of disengagement in education (Verkuyten et al., 2019). This study collected data from 11 New York City middle school teachers and pinpointed five themes: parental involvement, classroom resources, cultural construct, student identity and classroom representation, and student behavior. Transcription was conducted using Trint software. The Braun and Clarke (2021) Thematic Analysis approach helped identify repeated patterns and inform the interpretation of meaning.