The persistent disparity in graduation rates between Black and White male students in U.S. secondary schools (the achievement gap) despite repeated efforts to even it out, is a thorn in the flesh of educators, the country over. The elimination of this continuous disparity through viable solutions, is the focus of this study. A problem is ninety percent solved when it thoroughly understood, with its comprehension necessitating a large investment of thought, time, and resources (Einstein, 1879-1955). To fully grasp the inner pinning of the achievement gap dilemma, this researcher selected, read, and reviewed 50 subject matter-related archived articles/studies obtained from Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses web site through Pepperdine University's Databases and E-Journals. From a thorough thematically-based qualitative metasynthesis of the selection, through the lenses of three research questions and the backbone of four related theories, emerged two overarching themes that put a spotlight on: (a) the urgency to stop disregarding the positive efforts made by African American male students and laud/report on them, and (b) the need to celebrate the lives and lived experiences of Black boys. The two emergent themes of this study could, indeed, be the achievement gap gamechanger. They amplify the importance of using the positive approach when interacting with Black high school boys in particular who hitherto have experience adversities like racism, stereotyping, discrimination, and the marginalization of the positive events in their lives. Great benefits abound from using positive approach strategies to educate all high school students, however, positivizing the lived experiences of Black high school boys is monumental.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

African American boys -- Education (Secondary) -- Social aspects; African American students -- Education (Secondary); Academic achievement -- United States; Educational equalization -- United States

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Latrissa Lee Neiworth