Masters Thesis

Using universal access groups to affect the reading grade of underperforming students

The purpose of this thesis was to examine the effect of using Universal Access (UA) which is small group intervention as a pedagogical strategy to close the reading gap of African American students. This is a teacher research study used a sixth grade classroom consisting of predominantly African American students who were reading below grade level. The study is grounded using Critical Race Theory (CRT), Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) and an Afrocentric learning theory. The critical issues that impact the educational success of African American students are often centered around education and equity in the classroom. This study looks more intently at the UA model within the framework of CRT,CRP and ALT to create a more culturally relevant learning community to help close the reading gap experienced by so many African American students. A mixed methods study design was used to determine the effectiveness of these groups; data such as reading achievement assessments, field notes and journal entries were collected for data analysis. The results of the study revealed that Universal Access groups helped to facilitate an increase in the reading levels of underperforming students. Students increased in reading fluency and reading comprehension.