Theses and Dissertations


Labat, Myron

Committee Member

Hailey, Leigh Ann

Committee Member

Tharp, Paula

Committee Member

Moyen, Eric

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Immediate Worldwide Access

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Leadership (P-12 School Leadership)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Teacher Education and Leadership


This qualitative case study investigates the discrepancies between theory, school policy, and practices within educational settings, particularly concerning minority students. Grounded in the persistent racial achievement gaps documented in educational literature, the study aims to understand the challenges and successful strategies for bridging these gaps. Drawing upon Critical Race Theory (CRT), Intergroup Contact Theory, and Stereotype Threat as conceptual frameworks, the research explores the experiences of eight participants through thematic analysis. Three overarching themes emerged: challenges aligning theories, policies, and practices; successful strategies for alignment; and unsuccessful strategies. Findings underscore the importance of culturally responsive curriculum, teacher professional development, student- teacher relationships, and parental engagement in narrowing achievement gaps. Additionally, the study identifies barriers such as language obstacles, resource inadequacies, and discriminatory policies. The implications of these findings extend to educational research, practice, and policy- making, emphasizing the need for equitable opportunities, teacher training, inclusive environments, and community involvement. By addressing the disconnect between theory and practice, this study contributes to promoting educational diversity and fostering student success in diverse classrooms. Key words: achievement gaps, minority groups, educational disparities