Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

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Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Biology Department

First Advisor

Roseann Liu

Second Advisor

Vincent A. Formica


One of the most difficult challenges for educators today is bridging the academic achievement gap between differing racial groups. On average, African American students perform below their Caucasian and Asian peers. Although these statistical findings give a quantitative way to measure inequality, the findings do little to explain the source of the problem and how we should address it. In this thesis, I explore how the social-historical perspective provides us with the best framework to understand the achievement gap and better support the educational needs of African American students. Through a literature review, this thesis will examine how the biological race perspective has misled the general public into believing that there are racial genetic differences that drive the differing levels of academic achievement. Next, this research will provide a socio-historical overview of African American oppression and how it has created the educational disparities we see today. Finally, the review will offer a broad overview of the pedagogical strategies that teachers have developed through an understanding of social history in order to support the psychological, social, and educational development of African American students.