Links and Chains: A Case Study of Historical and Psychological Factors and the African American Achievement Gap in the Areas of Parental Involvement, Attendance, and Reading

Nakia K. Hall, Olivet Nazarene University

Ed.D. dissertation completed in 2013 for Olivet Nazarene University.


African Americans have experienced an educational history that has been riddled with challenges and disparity. Of particular concern have been the areas of parental involvement, attendance, and reading. Presently, African Americans are achieving at a lower rate than their Caucasian peers, thus creating a gap in achievement known as the African American achievement gap. This study sought to revisit the historical events that affected African American education, as well as present current information pertaining to the persistent African American achievement gap. The study addressed the impact of programs, policies, and procedures implemented by a Midwestern school in order to target the three aforementioned areas. The school underwent federally mandated reconstruction as the result of four consecutive years of failing to make adequate yearly progress. A cohort of African American students from the school in its old state were reexamined four years after the implementation of the new school and its new initiatives targeting parental involvement, attendance, and reading. These implementations were assessed for their impact upon the targeted African American students and the school as a whole. The results showed that the newly introduced initiatives positively affected parental involvement, attendance, and reading.