Masters Thesis

Teacher Bias and Its Impact on Student Achievement: A Case Study Using the Cultural

This research project is based upon the equity gap experienced by Hispanic students in high school. It studied a high school serving adults with a high Hispanic population. While seeking to answer the question. “To what extent does a teacher’s knowledge, understanding and belief of cultural proficiency impact an adult Hispanic student's educational experience?”, teachers were surveyed using a series of questions investigating cultural proficiency. Literature about cultural proficiency, Hispanic Students, equity gaps, cultural barriers, and adult education were reviewed to gain a deep perspective of the role cultural proficiency has in adult education and Hispanic students. The study, a convergent parallel mixed method study, utilized Qualtrics to distribute the online-survey of close ended and open ended to E. High Schools teachers spread across California. Quantitative data was analyzed based upon teacher responses in five categories. Qualitative data was analyzed into two themes; Culturally Proficient Awareness and Deficit Thinking. Questions were derived from literature of cultural proficiency research and reviewed by another teacher. Data was analyzed using the lens of cultural proficiency. The results describe a disconnect between the philosophy teacher claim and their deficit thinking focusing on barriers. Although it should be noted, the questions themselves might have skewed some responses towards barriers experienced by Hispanic adults in education. The data analysis in combination with existing knowledge based on observations and conversations with administration and teachers indicates that asset based thinking and cultural proficient strategies need to be the focus of the school’s professional development trainings or professional learning community. This study provides analysis of teacher practices to be used by leaders studying how to reduce the effects of equity gaps exacerbated by teacher bias.