Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Yasha Becton


Achievement gaps have been an ongoing issue among African American students for years. The continuation of low achievement scores has been the downfall of African American student success throughout their educational history (Royle & Brown, 2014). So much time has been spent helping students achieve grade-level mastery, while little was being done to ensure continuous academic growth for students that were already reading on-grade level. Over time, these on-grade level students remained stagnant or tended to regress. This research study presented two instructional intervention strategies that demonstrated how critical thinking could improve the growth in reading, among rising sixth-grade on-grade level African American students. The instructional intervention strategies implemented in the current research study were the Socratic Seminar with Costa’s Level of Thinking (CLT) and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP). The instructional intervention strategies incorporated critical thinking with higher-order thinking skills that helped students develop stronger discussion and metacognition skills while analyzing reading skills (Burder et al., 2014).