Student population demographics in U.S. schools undertook considerable changes in the first decades of the 21st Century. United States Census Bureau (2012) reports indicate that racial and ethnic populations traditionally referred to as minority populations are transitioning to be the majority of the student population in U.S. schools. However, during this same period, the population of teachers in U.S. schools has remained largely White (Boser, 2014; Deruy, 2013; Holland, 2014). Research has shown that one of the consequences of this demographic difference is the possibility of cultural misunderstandings in schools that can lead to achievement gaps between diverse students and their White peers (McKinley 2010). This achievement gap manifests itself in several areas. One such area is a disparity in the high school graduation rates of White and diverse student populations in Wisconsin and across the United States (Stetser & Stillwell, 2014).
Culturally responsive teaching methods have developed out of multicultural ideologies in response to the achievement and graduation gaps in schools (Gay, 2000). The focus of this research is to explore the correlation between culturally responsive teaching practices, as measured by the Race and Schooling Instrument (Suhr and Shay, 2008), and the graduation rates of diverse student populations in a sample of nine (N = 9) Wisconsin high schools. The Race and Schooling Instrument is a 23 item (adapted to 24 items for this research) questionnaire that assesses culturally responsive teaching practices, mediated by the social construction of knowledge and an understanding of student and teacher identity development.
Research has shown that teachers do not develop a culturally responsive teacher identity on their own (Sleeter, 2008). Therefore, this researcher also gathered information on what, if any, culturally responsive training participating schools have implemented over the last calendar year. This information aids in both the anecdotal and direct findings of this research.
The results of this research do not indicate that culturally responsive teaching practices, as measured by the Race and Schooling Instrument, lead to an increased graduation rate for diverse students. Rather, the results indicate that graduating from high school is a complex interplay of many factors and that culturally responsive practices, not adequately measured by the Race and Schooling Instrument, are likely factors in all measures of student success. This paper concludes with recommendations for educators to increase their focus on culturally responsive training and to make explicit those culturally responsive practices already in use in schools.
|Advisor:||Saunders, Patrick C.|
|Commitee:||Berna, Jennifer, Nienhaus, Cyndi|
|School Location:||United States -- Wisconsin|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education Policy, Ethnic studies|
|Keywords:||Achievement gap, Constructionism, Constructivism, Culturally responsive teaching, Graduation rate, Multiculturalism|
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