School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
African American Achievement Gap, self-determination, instructional strategies, African American students
Howell, Charlie III, "Exploring Teachers' Strategies That Motivate Achievement Among African American Students: A Single-Case Study" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4320.
Throughout the United States, the academic achievement gap between African American and White students has been a growing concern. The purpose of this single-case study was to explore upper-elementary African American students’ perceptions of effective motivational and instructional strategies in an eastern North Carolina private school. The self-determination theory of Ryan and Deci guided this study in exploring the central question: What instructional strategies have teachers used at the Center of Excellence to improve the motivation of African American students within the classroom? In addition, three sub-questions were considered: What instructional strategies have teachers used to foster autonomy among African American students? What instructional strategies have teachers used to foster relatedness among African American students? What instructional strategies have teachers used to help African American students become competent? This single-case study employed classroom observations, interviews, and documents as data sources. The researcher analyzed the data to identify themes and then to assign codes to them. Four themes emerged: Differentiated Instruction (or Differentiation), Teacher Affirmation, Cultural Awareness, and Relationships. The findings of this study determined that self-determination theory is a viable option for increasing the motivation of African American students. This study's findings also confirm that school systems can impact African Americans who suffer academically and lack motivation by providing professional development to teachers about instructional strategies.