Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Curriculum, Advocacy, and Policy

First Advisor

Dawn Coffin

Second Advisor

Carla Sparks


Literature suggest culturally responsive teaching is one of our most powerful tools for accelerating student learning and helping students find their way out of the gap. Billions of dollars have been invested in creating educational equity, but the data have shown that inequality in achievement still exists. However, school districts are beginning to focus more on being aware of and sensitive to the cultural and social needs of African American students. When school communities accept the challenge of changing the culture within their schools to ensure all students reach their full potential, then the achievement gap can be eradicated.

The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine teachers’ perceptions toward culturally responsive teaching strategies and its impact on the attainment and achievement gap of African American third grade students. The context of this inquiry is a large public school district that incorporates culturally responsive teaching across the district. My study demonstrates qualitative data that match current research and outcomes of best practices in teaching, positive strategies to promote student academic success, and increased cultural competence among stakeholders.

As a former elementary school teacher and a mother of three, I am an advocate for academic achievement. I believe researching the effects of culturally responsive teaching (CRT) will inform possible ways to improve the teaching and learning of African American students. I believe classroom teachers and the school community can have a positive impact on the academic achievement of all students. I wanted to study whether culturally responsive teaching strategies were a critical component of academic achievement, specifically for African American students. I believe in the benefits that implementing culturally responsive teaching strategies provide to student academic achievement. I believe understanding the culture of African American students plays a vital role in narrowing the attainment and achievement gap and I advocate for the implementation of CRT in all schools across all districts.

In November of 2017, I became an assistant principal at an elementary school. I analyzed school-wide data and was tasked with implementing processes and procedures to improve the academic achievement of all subgroups. I had a professional responsibility to study the relationships between teachers and students and the impact those relationships could have on academic achievement, specifically relating to the achievement gap. I hoped findings from this research could serve as a road map for schools and school districts when implementing strategies to improve academic achievement.

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