Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jainie Miranda


Teachers at an urban high school in the Southeast have failed to see an increase in classroom achievement or standardized test scores despite efforts to increase passing rates. If achievement rates do not increase, school restructuring will occur. While the site has implemented programs to reduce academic failure, data exists that external barriers may be affecting student achievement. Guided by Bandura's (1986) theory of metacognitive beliefs and self-efficacy as the conceptual framework, this qualitative case study explored teachers' perceptions about the root causes of poor student achievement. This study examines how to identify those causes to help students improve academically, while providing teacher recommendations to reducing the effects of those causes in order to improve student success. Five teachers were selected from the math and science content areas to participate in 1-on-1 interviews to identify external barriers to student success. Thematic coding and member checks allowed for data triangulation to analyze the findings. Seven themes emerged to increase student success by helping close the achievement gap through fostering support between teachers and the families of all students involved: socioeconomic status, ability of goal setting, having encouragement and motivation, seeing another environment, lacking parental support, building relationships with parents, and stress of taking state tests. Developing resources that will help students to overcome issues outside of the school day that leads to increased student academic achievement and graduation rates creates social change.

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