Thesis

Can best practices guided by instructional leaders and data-driven support programs help close the achievement gap for under-represented students

This study investigated the effectiveness of best practices guided by instructional leaders to help close the achievement gap for English Language Learners and low socioeconomic, Special Education and at-risk students. More specifically, the purpose of the study was to determine attitudes of teachers, counselors and administrators regarding their perspective on closing the achievement gap at a designated Southern California high school. The sample included 116 participants and focused on their perceptions of best practices or multiple resources that would effectively support under-represented students to close the achievement gap. The study yielded two important results. First, there is a need for the leadership team to establish a vision that promotes equity, high expectations, and an individualistic mindset to succeed. Second, although programs are in place to help close the achievement gap at this high school, participants shared their attitudes through open-ended questions that some students were not attending regularly or taking advantage of the academic instruction support. The study participants noted a need for students to be more motivated to attend support sessions. Based on the research study, educational leaders need to be cognizant of developing a vision that includes instructional practices focused on closing the achievement gap for under-represented students. KEY WORDS: achievement gap, best practices, early intervention, instructional leadership, school vision, under-represented students

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