Date of Graduation

5-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Michael Wavering

Committee Member

Felicia Lincoln

Second Committee Member

Mounir Farah

Third Committee Member

Christopher Lucas

Keywords

Achievement, Assessment, Equity, Ethnicity gap, Gender gap, Middle school, Student perceptions

Abstract

This study used a mix-method approach to determine achievement gap in gender and ethnicity. Quantitative data was collected from the 2008-2009 Arkansas state Benchmark exam to investigate the extent of the gap in the school. Qualitative data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with 13 students. The students were asked to explain their perceptions of the gender and ethnicity gap in the school. The use of two methods for this study enabled the researcher to better understand the actual achievement gap that appeared at the school and compare this information to the information provided by the participants. The Quantitative data gathered in this study were analyzed with an analysis of variance (ANOVA), T-test, and Tukey's multiple comparisons. Data gained in the interviews were analyzed using inductive analysis based on researcher created frames and domains. The quantitative data suggests that in this school when gender is considered females are still ahead in literacy and closing the gap in math. When considering ethnicity, Caucasians are scoring better in both math and literacy than Hispanics or Marshallese. The qualitative data hold that old stereotypes still persist in with these participants. The girls were believed to be better at reading and boys better at math. When participants were asked about ethnicity, the data revealed that these participants' believed Caucasian students did the best in school, while Hispanic students do not do well or caused problems in school, and that participants' choices of friends did not fall along racial lines but who might be the most useful to them.