Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




STEM Education

First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Thomas


The research around the achievement gap is extensive. However, regardless that the term “achievement gap” is so widely used in academia today, there is often confusion surrounding what the achievement gap is. This study seeks to answer three research questions: (1) To what extent does an achievement gap exist among different subgroups of students in Kentucky’s K-12 public schools? (2) How do the perceptions of parents and teachers interact with decision-making? (3) How do the ideas of parents and teachers regarding closing the achievement gap compare?

This research examines perceptions of the existence of an achievement gap in Kentucky’s public schools from the perspectives of two groups of stakeholders: parents and teachers. This study aims to identify trends in thinking about the existence of an achievement gap, how information is communicated, and how stakeholders think gaps can be closed.

The results of this study indicate that stakeholders have a general understanding of the achievement gap; however, methods of communication with parents need strengthening. Findings show that Kentucky schools with gaps tend to have multiple subgroups, rather than a single group, performing lower than their peers, but stakeholders have mixed ideas on closing these gaps.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Education Commons