School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Margaret E Ackerman


Achievement Gap, Elementary School, High Achieving, High School, Middle School, Minority


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Psychology | Health and Physical Education | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


The purpose of this collective case study was to discover the characteristics that defined a high achieving minority population within a high, middle, and elementary school setting. The theoretical ideas included those of Dewey, Piaget and Payne. The central research question was: What are the unique characteristics of a high, middle, and elementary school with a high achieving minority student population? The characteristics were identified and examined through contemporary practices, observations, focus group discussions, interviews, surveys, and data analyzed. The participants in this research were the teachers, administrators, and students at various high, middle, and elementary school sites. The data collected from the different tools mentioned used commonalities by means of diligent coding methods, triangulation, and rich data description. The results included themes that existed across the various bounded systems, including: (a) an explicitly designed improvement plan tailored for each site, (b) a safe and secure environment with accountability in place for all involved, (c) the recognition for the need for positive relationships among all participants, (d) the importance of professional development that emphasized the curriculum content, and (e) the use of effective teaching practices to improve academic achievement. The theoretical and empirical findings confirmed the significance of administrators' leadership abilities and teacher relationships being the cornerstone for student achievement in a minority economically challenged environment.