Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Fort, Edward B.


Existing scholarship on self-concept and its relevance to personal agency in the classroom does not incorporate the lived experiences of African American middle school boys. Today, in the United States, only 10% of 8th grade African American boys can read proficiently (Holzman, 2011). This research study investigates the perceptions of seventeen middle school African American males’ classroom experiences to determine factors that contribute to their classroom engagement and personal agency. The study also illustrates that there is a significant need for greater self–identity and self–concept within the learning environment, which allows African American male students to self–actualize their sense of personal agency and thus, become agents in their own learning process.