The Gateway: Examining the Effects Teachers have on Black Students' Academic Success

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Achieving academic success is a challenge for many children; however, for many African American children, academic success is more than a challenge; it is an almost impossible feat. Anyone can look in the papers, or take a peek in the average classroom grade books and see the big disparity, or achievement gap that is evident between African American and Caucasian students’ grades, or levels of proficiency on academic measures. Although there are many reasons that have been offered to explain why this gap exists, many researchers are interested specifically in the role that teacher’s beliefs, attitudes, and teaching practices or styles play in enhancing or hindering academic performance among African American students.

Oates, (2003) examined the relationship between the ethnicity of the teacher and the ethnicity of the student to determine if dissimilarity in teachers and students races has an influence on teachers’ perceptions of students (Oates, 2003). He also looked at whether the relationship between teacher perceptions among students of the same race (i.e. African American teacher; African American student) would be consequential to performance. He utilized the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS) of 1988, that focused on 24,559 eighth graders; however, after centering on the educational processes of students who had tenth(1990) and twelfth(1992) grade standardized test data and tenth grade teacher-perception data available, he had a sample size of 836 African American students; 670 with perception data from white teachers and 166 with perception data from African American teachers; and, 7094 white students with perception data from white teachers and 155 with perception data from African American teachers (O...

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...od further directions to go into. These and other focuses on academic achievement can help glean more information on, and a better understanding of how teachers’ perception, beliefs, attitudes, and teaching practices can have an impact (positive or negative) in African American students’ academic success.


Oates, G.L. (2003). Teacher-student racial congruence, teacher perceptions, and test performance. Social Science Quarterly, 84(3), 509-523.

Bakari, R. (2003). Preservice teacher's attitudes toward teaching african american students: contemporary research. Urban Education, 38(6), 640-654 Retrieved from doi: 10.1177/0042085903257317

Love, A, & Kruger, A.C. (2005). Teacher beliefs and student achievement in urban schools serving african american students. Journal of Educational Research, 99(2), 87-98.
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