Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Carleton R. Holt

Committee Member

Janet Penner-Williams

Second Committee Member

Erin M. Casey


Social sciences, Education, African american females, Caucasian teachers, Cultural gap, Functional literacy, High school literacy achievement, Learning behaviors


This qualitative intrinsic case study was designed to assist Caucasian educators with the researched academic skills and behaviors to engage African-American females in the learning environment. The study provided strategies and recommendations to promote self-worth, self-motivation, self-efficacy, and morale in African-American females when they did not perform as well as or higher than their Caucasian peers in a high school English classroom on the state literacy examination instructed by a Caucasian teacher. The research site was a low socioeconomic urban high school with a majority of minorities with several native based home languages. The study took an in-depth approach to find the contributing factors that cause African-American females to score `Advanced' at a much lower rate compared to their Caucasian peers under the instruction of Caucasian English teachers initiated by the interest of researcher, an African-American female. Data collection of the methodological process included interviews from educators, collection of artifacts and documents, and classroom observations. The data were analyzed through open coding, axial coding, and triangulation (audit trail) to produce selective codes from themes and categories. Six theories emerged from selective codes as findings: Training, Social behaviors, learning behaviors, changing expectations, curriculum resources, and literacy skills. Policy, methodology, and validity directed the study. In belief, the findings of the results will give insight to African-American parents, teachers, principal, superintendent, the school board, community, legislatures, and testing companies in regards of the need to include culture.

Keywords: Cultural gap, Caucasian teachers African-American females, high school, functional literacy, achievement gap, high expectations, resiliency, self-efficacy, multicultural education