This phenomenological study examined the lived experiences of online Algebra I teachers as they relate to the instruction of minority students. There is an academic achievement gap that exists between minority students and their non-minority peers in United States public education (Sousa & Armor, 2016). Although national educational policy has sought to narrow the academic achievement gap, it is persistent and must be addressed because public education affects the future of our nation (Fullan & Quinn, 2016). Virtual education is a growing platform for learning, with nearly 300,000 students enrolled across the United States. Achievement data demonstrates the existence of an academic achievement gap in this learning environment as well (Miron, Shank, & Davidson, 2018). Yet, there is not a great deal of high-quality research surrounding aspects of virtual education (Molnar et al., 2017). A phenomenological research method was used to examine the lived experiences of Algebra I teachers in a virtual learning environment. Interviews were conducted with five participants (N = 5). Data analysis resulted in eight overarching themes and twenty-seven tertiary themes. The major themes include: (a) teachers believe that student characteristics are a primary determinant of their success in virtual education; (b) teachers believe they have a strong impact upon student success in a virtual learning environment; (c) teachers believe Algebra I is a challenging content area for student achievement; (d) teachers believe family involvement impacts student learning in virtual education; (e) teachers believe frequent and consistent communication is vital in virtual education; (f) teachers believe there are challenges communicating with English language learners; (g) teachers believe strategies can be implemented to support student success in an online learning environment; and (h) teachers believe virtual education is a unique learning environment. This study concludes with an examination of each finding and provides implications for virtual education teachers and policy, and recommendations for future research.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Learning Sciences and Educational Research
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Glover, Sara, "The Mathematics Achievement Gap in Virtual Education" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6305.