Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Beth Goldstein


The three parts of this dissertation provide multiple perspectives on a single-case study of the ways in which the achievement gap is defined in one Kentucky school district. The case study focuses on the Learning Station, an after-school tutoring program that intended to address the achievement gap for minority and low-income students. Given the intensity of high stakes testing and testing frequency becoming part of the national mainstream conversation, the first part provides a brief overview of the various state and district mandated tests that students are required to take throughout the course of the year. I use quantitative data to explore correlations between attendance in the after-school program and scores on state mandated assessment. The second part uses qualitative data from key adult stakeholders who developed the program to understand how various members of the home and school communities conceived and contextualized the Learning Station. This part discusses the conceptualization of the program using research on the importance of engaging members of the school, family and community spheres as a framework for success. The third part is my reflection as a classroom teacher on the impact of the focus on the achievement gap and how the after school program was meant to provide supports for students in this category. I pose the phrase opportunity gap as a more appropriate term for the challenges minority and low-income students face. I use the works of authors and practitioners such as Kozol, Coates, Delpit, Ladson-Billings, and Hersch, to contextualize the challenges I had in the classroom.