Term of Award

Fall 2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Meta Harris

Committee Member 1

Walter Polka

Committee Member 2

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 3

Bettye Ray

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to provide best practices and strategies for middle school principals that have been struggling to close the minority achievement gap in schools. Three Georgia middle school principals considered to be successful in closing the achievement gap were interviewed to determine the strategies and practices that they use to close the minority achievement gap. These practices and strategies were further examined to determine their effectiveness in the areas of reading and mathematics. The researcher used in-depth interviewing procedures through a structured interview format to encourage research participants to speak openly and candidly about the strategies and practices that they use to address the issue of the achievement gap in their schools. The interviews were audio-taped to assure accuracy of data given by the participants. Each participant was asked nine research questions derived from a thorough review of the literature to determine their perspectives of the achievement gap and the practices and strategies that they use to address the issue. The researcher discovered through the findings from the in-depth, structured interviews and an analysis of the data that the practices and strategies used by the selected Georgia middle school principals included a combination of similar, but routine 2 practices such as involving underachieving students in the process of improving their own academic achievement, offer additional assistance in reading and mathematics, incorporate minority students into gifted or honors classes, give common assessments, give teachers time for collaboration and professional learning to plan for student success, and provide differentiated instruction. Most importantly, these principals used data to make strategic decisions concerning the achievement of the students within their schools.

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