Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Tambra Jackson


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand how African American students of low socioeconomic status perceived their educational experiences at a predominantly White, high socioeconomic status high school. The study sought to capture the lived experiences of high school students from the Creek community, which has had a long history of poor academic performance although they attend a school with high test scores and numerous awards for providing a great education. Students provided descriptions of their educational experiences and whether they felt prepared to meet their post-secondary goals.

Questioning techniques to collect data for the study included open-ended questioning; think-aloud protocols, and projection techniques. The descriptions provided by the participants were grouped into two categories (effective and ineffective), and the categories were divided into themes (structural and textual). Similar themes were then reported as codes, and the codes that were shared by each participant were reported as the essence. Using critical race theoretical lens to examine and understand the data from this study, I came to realize that the permanency of race coupled with the disparities of social class have created an uneven playing field for the Creek community students at this high school.