Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Mary Brown

Abstract

Dynamics between student teacher ethnicity and the practices of culturally plural curricula seeks to improve student performance and strives to minimize the achievement gap. This quantitative study explored whether there was a significant difference in the North Carolina Final Exam history-social science test performance between (a) African American and Hispanic students taught by a teacher from a different ethnic makeup and (b) African American and Hispanic students taught by a teacher from a similar ethnic makeup in 8th grade of social science classes. Student's performance is a key factor in evaluating the credibility of a school which is crucial to all stakeholders. The theoretical framework for this study centered around Tillmans' theory of culturally sensitive education which focused on variations of academic achievement based on student's engagements with teachers who share their cultural background or teachers who teach curricula that reflects their own cultures. Data were collected from a purposeful sampling of depersonalized archival records of 2,000 8th grade African American and Hispanic students who took the North Carolina Final Exam for Social Sciences. Data were analyzed using causal-comparative approach and focused on the fixed factor of race with 3 covariates and teacher race as the dependent variable. Results indicated that there was a significant difference in the students performance depending on the ethnicity of their teacher. Students with a teacher of their ethnic background, performed better compared to having a teacher from a different ethnic background. This study contributes to social change through the understanding of how teacher diversity and the need for relational teaching can promote greater academic achievement within their classrooms.