Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Brydon-Miller, Mary

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Johnson, Detra

Committee Member

Brooms, Derrick

Committee Member

Haselton, W. Blake

Author's Keywords

culturally responsive; afrocultural; afro-cultural; black; African-American


This dissertation examined African-American high school seniors’ perceptions of culturally responsive teaching in one public high school within a large urban public-school district in the southeastern region of the United States. It begins with a brief historical overview on the plight of African-Americans in the US public education system and how public school educators have failed to leverage Afrocultural learning orientations as an asset to educate and increase the academic achievement of African-American students in classrooms. The Philosophical Aspects of Cultural Difference Framework (Nichols, 1986, 1995) will guide this dissertation study. The latter part of the dissertation reveals that a critical examination of Afrocultural learning orientations, specifically communalism, verve, and movement (music), and achievement has potential to improve performance, engagement, and motivation of African-American students in US public-school classrooms. This study is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 begins with a current snapshot of African-American students’ academic achievement and outcomes in the US public-schools system. Chapter 1 connects current trend data of African-American students’ academic achievement and outcomes to the purpose and analytical strategy of this research study. Chapter 1 also provides a definition of terms and lays out the organization of the research study. Chapter 2 gives a historical overview of African-Americans in the US educational system, reviews current literature on culturally responsive teaching and how the use of Afrocultural learning orientations has produced academic successfulness for African-American students. Chapter 3 focuses on the methodological approach used for this research. Chapter 4 focuses on research findings from the purposeful sampling of nine African-American high school seniors who were recruited through a Demographic Survey to participate in one-on-one interviews, a focus group interview, and who completed a Participant Profile sheet. Chapter 5 discusses the findings, and links the findings to implications and suggestions for future research.