Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Susan McClary


A local and national concern in education is the persistent achievement gap between African American and Caucasian middle school students. Despite numerous reforms, the gap continues to show African American middle school students performing lower in reading. The purpose of this mixed methods study, framed in the theoretical perspective of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, was to examine teachers' expectations and the relationship between those expectations and the educational outcomes of African American middle school children. Data were collected to identify pedagogical practices, examine teacher expectations, and determine the relationship between those expectations and student Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) scores. Nineteen middle school teachers volunteered to take the Regalla Adaptive Teachers' Expectation Survey, which quantified teachers' expectations for student achievement using items rated on a 5-point Likert scale (5 = strongly agree with high expectation statement). Pedagogy was examined through 12 classroom observations and archival data provided CRCT scores for 650 African American students. Based on survey results, the mean score for teacher expectations was 4.47 out of 5.00. Observations established that 8 out of 12 teachers were rated proficient in terms of instructional plans. Correlation analysis determined a significant and direct relationship between teachers' expectation scores and middle school students' scores on the CRCT (p < .05). The results highlight the importance of teacher expectations for student achievement. The implications for social change include using the findings at the local site to communicate to teachers the importance of having high expectations for all students to improve the achievement levels of all middle school students and close the achievement gap.