Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Linda Silvernail


This action research study utilized a phenomenological qualitative design to examine reasons that eligible Black students use to not register with advance classes. This project investigated how a community of inquiry with adult participants identified and mitigated or removed barriers in a secondary education setting. This eleven-week study during the spring semester incorporated change theory while employing a community of inquiry. Qualitative data from student participants obtained from audio recordings of focus group interviews was transcribed and then shared with the community of inquiry. Adult participants then analyzed student participant data to pinpoint reasons students chose not to register. Next, the community of inquiry proposed school changes with registration to reduce or mitigate barriers. Proposals were revised iteratively based on student participant feedback. Community of inquiry meetings were audio recorded and transcribed to investigate how the group addressed school reform. Findings revealed that student participants used many reasons for not registering which included fear of academic rigor to uneasiness being with White students. The community of inquiry devised proposals which included previewing a syllabus with an AP teacher, to partnering with a student of color that has completed an advanced class. The community of inquiry experienced school reform with deep learning due to insider knowledge with student participants. The productive group also experienced favorable outcomes because of administrative support. These findings informed an implementation plan, strategies for sharing results with colleagues and thoughts about future research plans.


© 2022, Diane Marie Vrobel