Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Terri L. Edwards


There is a persistent academic achievement gap between African American and European American elementary students in mathematics and English language arts. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore third through fifth-grade elementary educators’ perspectives on strategies used to narrow the gap in achievement for African American students in mathematics and English language arts from a school located in the southeastern region of the United States; consequently, the research question was developed to focus on these perspectives. The conceptual framework for this study was Ladson-Billings’s culturally relevant pedagogy. Purposeful sampling and snowball sampling were used to select study participants. Data were collected from semistructured interviews with 11 educators who had narrowed the gap in achievement for their African American students. Braun and Clarke’s six-step framework was used to thematically analyze the data, resulting in four emergent themes: relationship building, meeting the learning needs/styles of students, cultural awareness, and setting high expectations. Findings from this study may be used to bring about a positive social change by providing educators with strategies that they can use to close the achievement gap and increase the achievement of their African American students.