Academic Achievement, Achievement gap, NCLB, Minority achievement


The study was conducted to determine the disparity between the academic achievement of African American students and the academic achievement of white American students in the state of Florida, and more specifically, in five high schools in Orange County Public Schools. The term "African American" included all students who self-identified as that race upon enrollment into an Orange County public school. The study included male and female African American students from different socio-economic levels. The term "differences in academic achievement" is most commonly referred to as "achievement gap." Additionally, this study sought to determine the relationship, if any, in the achievement of African American students' academic achievement in five high schools in Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Florida. In addition, the purpose was to identify differences in achievement level based upon the school attended, gender, socio-economic levels, class size, and qualifications of the teachers. The methods and procedures used to determine if there was an achievement gap between African-American and white American high school students was to review: (a) gain in African-American students on the reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, from the 2003-2004 administration to the 2004-2005 administration in five Orange County public high schools, (b) difference between African-American students' 2004-2005 reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test percentage at proficient (level 3 and above) and white American students in five public high schools in Orange, (c) the relationship between African-American students' 2004-2005 reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test percent at proficient (level 3 and above) and the school poverty rate in all public high schools in Orange County, (d) the characteristics of schools making gains in reading. There were four conclusions based on the review of literature, as well as the data collected from the five high schools. Under the provision and penalties attached to the No Child Left Behind legislation, there was a noticeable gap in achievement between African-American students and their white American counterparts in each of the examined schools over a two year time period. In schools with a greater percentage of white students, African-American students, overall, performed at a higher level. The achievement gap was narrower and the percent at proficient and above was higher for all students in schools where white students represented a greater percentage of the students. In schools with a lower percentage of students on free and/or reduced lunch, the percent of students reading at proficient or above was higher and the achievement gap was less between African-American students and their white counterparts. Furthermore, the data indicated that as the percent of students on free and reduced lunch at a given school increases, the rate of those reading at proficient and above for African-American students was lower. In schools with a wide array of diversity, students overall have higher achievement scores. Based on the data in the study, the school with the highest rate of student proficient and above, was the school with the greatest diversity population of students.


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Graduation Date



Taylor, Rosemarye


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership








Release Date

June 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)