Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures



First Advisor

Christopher Holcomb


There is a major demographic shift occurring in the American population. Minorities are quickly becoming the majority, and given this change, one would expect comparable demographic shifts in post-secondary student populations. However, minorities are under-represented on most 4-year college campuses. Many argue the disparity results from using biased standardized tests against speakers of different language varieties. Due to these differences, students perform poorly on tests using only Standard English. Compounding this problem, speakers of nonstandard language varieties often come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and many argue that standardized tests are tailored toward students from higher income level homes--namely, those who speak Standard English. This thesis focuses primarily on the disparity between African American and White students and finds that many of the disparities occur due to lack of community and parental involvement as well non-standard language varieties. This thesis proposes community and parental involvement as well as code switching as methods to help close the gap.


© 2010, Jon Anthony Hermesch