Identifier

etd-0605103-202818

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The Black/White Achievement gap has been a persistent problem in education. Previous research attributed this gap to students' culture (Jenks & Phillips, 1998; Ogbu, 1995a.b) or teachers' expectancy (Rist, 1970). Post-colonial literature suggests that this research itself is oppressive, and that learning is negotiating the "spaces" between students and teachers (Ellsworth, 1997); creating a hybrid "mestiza" space (Anzaldúa, 1987). The openness of immersion to diversity, and its subsequent educational benefits for African-American students (Caldas & Boudreaux, 1999) conforms to this post-colonial perspective. This mixed-methodology study examined both academic achievement and the experiences of Louisiana fourth grade students/teachers in both the regular education and the French immersion contexts. The quantitative phase compared these students' LEAP test scores. The qualitative phase was a cross-case comparison of four classrooms--an extreme class (90% of the school population in poverty) and a typical class (African-Americans of average academic achievement) in each context. Quantitative findings were that while there was a bridging of the achievement gap between the LEAP math scores of African-American immersion students and those of white students in regular education, the gap remained amongst immersion students. The qualitative phase found the regular education classroom was found to be a more fixed and assimilating context than immersion. Further, immersion students had higher collective self-esteems and a more positive view of schooling. Though Typical Immersion appeared to create a hybrid third space, the regular education context in which immersion programs were situated appeared to negatively influence these programs.

Date

2003

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Denise Egéa-Kuehne

Included in

Education Commons

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