The academic achievement gap between African American and Caucasian students continues to be a major concern for policymakers and educators. This gap started to shrink in the 1970s and 1980s with integration, but the 1990s showed the achievement gap was on the rise again. The characteristics of the neighborhoods where children live and attend school have a great impact on their academic performances. This research study examined the relationship between poverty, community violence and the academic performance of elementary school age children, especially African American students. Seventy-eight public elementary schools were randomly chosen in Los Angeles County that had at least 10% African American students who completed the reading achievement test in each primary grade level (2-5 grade levels) in April 2012. The results showed that poverty and community violence had a significant negative impact on reading achievement test scores for African American students. Furthermore, the impact of community violence was twice that of poverty on academic performance. On the other hand, Caucasian students’ test scores were significantly impacted by poverty and not community violence. One explanation for this difference was that African American students experienced twice as much community violence in their neighborhoods as compared to Caucasian students. Since educators cannot change neighborhood characteristics, they need to focus on developing educational models that mitigate the impact of community violence and trauma on African American students.
|Advisor:||Scott, Kecia A.|
|School:||University of Phoenix|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Elementary education, Educational psychology|
|Keywords:||Academic achievement, Achievement gap, African Americans, Trauma, Violence exposure|
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