Term of Award

Fall 2010

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

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Gregory Chamblee

Committee Member 2

Georj Lewis

Abstract

Many United States public school systems have been battling with the achievement gap between Black and White students. It has been over 50 years since desegregation, and evidence from data still shows that Black children are still lagging behind White children on standardized tests and graduation from high school. Within a Southeastern school district in the United States, two high schools struggle to close the achievement gap between Black and White students. Some critics of public schools believe that these factors impact school success: safe and orderly environment within the schools, instructional strategies, and home atmosphere. Other factors may be high expectations for success, frequent monitoring of student progress, opportunity to learn and student time on task, and representation of minorities on faculty. In addition to factors that are controlled by schools, there are factors that are contributed by students that affect student achievement gap, especially high school graduation. Some factors are socioeconomic status; a lack of connection the school environment, a perception that school is boring; feeling unmotivated; academic challenges; and the weight of real world events. The researcher conducted a study using qualitative methodology to provide a deeper understanding of how school administrators, members of the Board of Education, high school teachers, and high school students perceive the achievement gap between Black 2 and White high school students in a Southeastern school district in the United States. The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with school administrators and board members and from a focus group of high school teachers and from two focus groups of high school students. Interview responses were recorded, analyzed using Creswell Data Analysis, and written in narrative form for reporting. The researcher found that four themes emerged about of the achievement gap and strategies to closing the achievement gap: 1. Factors that contribute to achievement gap, 2. Effect of achievement gap, 3. Ways to closing the achievement gap, and 4. Barriers to closing the achievement gap.

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