Principals’ Perceptions of Their Influence on Narrowing the Achievement Gap: A Phenomenological Study

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Spring 2023


The history of education regarding Black students pinpoints some reasons behind lagging scores. Children of color consistently underperform in American public schools, which casts a disparaging light on their success (Viadero, 2014). According to the literature, Black students have historically experienced unequal resources and services compared to White students (Atkinson, 2010). Educators have found that educational inequity and bias have limited Black students' academic opportunities (Atkinson, 2010; Rothert, 2005). The research was essential to understand why there is such a difference in scores. For Black students to make better academic gains, school leaders should first understand why the Black-White achievement gap exists. This study analyzed the achievement gap between Black and White students from the perspective of principal perceptions. Data from interviewees of principals with Black students within the subgroup was analyzed. Several factors were discovered that affect the academic achievement of minority students. Based on a structured analysis of interview data, four themes emerged: (a) what is the Black-White achievement gap (b) what factors influence the Black-White achievement gap, (c) the impact of race on the Black-White achievement gap, and (d) the role of the principal in closing the Black-White achievement gap. If the true purpose of public education is to educate all students, it is the school principal's responsibility to increase student achievement and close the achievement gap.


Ray Thompson

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision