Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Teaching and Learning

Committee Chair

Patricia P. Watson


There is a general awareness that a substantial gap exists between the educational achievement of the White and African-American populations in our nation. Several prominent researchers have attempted to address this issue of the achievement gap. Kinjufu (1985), with his seminal work on the fourth-grade failure syndrome, Noguera (2008), Ferguson (2001), Tatum (1997), Payne (2005), and Gordon and Gordon (2006) all point to issues of race and income. Leary (2005) offers a theory of multigenerational trauma; Fordham and Ogbu (1986) present their theory of oppositional culture; while Sewell (1998), Gurian (2005), Kozol (1991), and Sax (2007) suggest that the gap may be at least partially attributable to a lack of "boy-friendly" content in curricula. While the negative impact of African American male student achievement has already been outlined by many researchers, what needs to be further investigated are the factors and processes which affect African American males and their values in relation to school and schooling.

This qualitative study aims to provide an understanding of African American student academic achievement from the perspective of Critical Race Theory. It explores how connections between critical pedagogy, socially and culturally relevant curricula and impact agency and provide deeper insight into some of the causal factors of low achievement in African American male students. Understanding the educational and socio-cultural factors that contribute to African American male student failure is important and has been found to be consistent across the population.


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