Term

Summer 2017

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Bill Lindquist

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Nick Seme

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Kevin Pinck

Abstract

The research question addressed in this project was, what one charter school was doing to excel at narrowing the achievement gap. In this study, the author examines the systems in place at a charter school that enrolls predominantly, low-income, African-American students. The surrounding district where this charter school is located shares similar student demographics, however, based on the state’s standardized test scores and proficiency and growth scores, the district is struggling to narrow the achievement gap. This study shows that this charter school is beating the odds, and showing significant gains in narrowing the achievement gap. A thorough review of standardized test scores, and the state’s assessment criteria statistics indicate that this school, particularly when compared to schools of similar demographics, is out performing those schools in shrinking the achievement gap. Through the course of interviews and observations of administrators and teachers, a “feedback loop” type system of daily and weekly assessments of both the student and the teacher, a systematic and purposeful disciplinary system, teacher collaboration, and administrator and teacher collaboration was found to play a large factor in the school’s success. A culture of high expectations, from both the students, the teachers, and the administrators is realized from this “feedback loop” system. Through the analysis of current literature, and a case study focusing on interviews, observations and document review of this specific charter school, methods and systems are revealed that could benefit any school, particularly one with a similar demographic looking to narrow the achievement gap.

Research Methodology

Case Study, Document Studies (secondary analyses of public documents, national data sets), Interview, Observation

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