Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Leigh D’Amico


The purpose of this action research was to examine the disengagement of male students in remediated English Language Arts (ELA) classes. Male students are disproportionately represented in remediated ELA classes, which indicates that male students are not progressing in their literacy skills at the same rate as females. Data was gathered from an ELA section of male students through a Google survey, a group interview, and two observations of students in a co-taught class. The purpose of these data collection methods was to understand the experiences of male students to determine the source of their disengagement. A focus group with eight ELA teachers also provided insight on teacher perceptions of their male students in remediated ELA classes. Motivation theory and gender schema theory were the theoretical frameworks used to understand this issue. Motivation theory posits that people accomplish tasks when they feel effort expended to complete the task is worth the reward. Also, people complete tasks when they have an intrinsic desire because they see the importance in the task. Gender schema theory holds that people undergo sex-typing at an early age and, as a result, behave in ways which are consistent with male and female gender roles.

The data indicated that male students do not feel motivated to learn in ELA classes because they do not see the relevance in the material being taught. Male students also indicated that their conflicted homelives often impact their school lives. Teacher responses indicated that male students in remediated ELA classes are challenging to teach because they exhibit many off task behaviors. However, neither male students nor their teachers felt there was gender bias occurring in the classroom.


© 2022, Joanne Berardi Martin