Resiliency: Factors Effecting Academic Achievement of At Risk Fifth Grade Girls Living In Poverty
Delestre, Niccole R.
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In this study, the researcher explored the perceptions of academically successful at risk fifth grade girls living in poverty regarding risk factors present in their everyday lives. Also, the researcher explored the various coping processes these students used to negotiate life stressors to be academically successful. Therefore, the study was designed to examine resilience from the girls’ perspectives, allowing them to share their story about their success in school. The following research questions guided this study: 1. What protective factors contribute to resilience in at risk academically successful fifth grade girls living in poverty? 2. What effect does family have on the resiliency of at risk academically successful fifth grade girls living in poverty? The researcher collected and analyzed qualitative data from focus group sessions composed of five girls. The findings revealed that life stressors such as unclear expectations of teachers, experiencing a loss, and bullying caused life disruptions. In addition, the girls discussed how several coping processes like establishing and maintaining positive friendships, having a role model, and possessing certain inner qualities help them to achieve academic success. Findings suggest that educators must respect and value girls' assessment of their own academic success and allowing girls to enable their voice. In doing this, the practitioner can learn explicitly what works for at risk yet academically successful girls and perhaps apply it in closing opportunity gaps. In addition, after girls are encouraged to enable their voice, educators need to assist and support girls as they determine what changes they can implement to increase their self-efficacy.