Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Educational Leadership (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Geisel

Academic Year



According to studies done in the 1970’s by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) where achievement data was first collected there has been an achievement gap found between students in the United States (Miksic, 2014). Non-White students compared to White students have performed much worse for student achievement. Further research has found that socioeconomics plays an even bigger role in academic achievement. At Vista Charter Academy, school with a high free and reduced lunch population, and Cross Creek Charter Academy, a school with low free and reduced lunch, data supports the difference that more affluent areas create more opportunity for success in student achievement. Despite close proximity of the two schools, the socioeconomic status of each school is vastly different and adversely so are the scores. Schools like Vista Charter Academy are not given the same resources to support their students as are schools like Cross Creek Charter Academy. If the achievement gap is going to change in urban school areas, resources need to be used intentionally, and more funds should be delegated to these areas that are less affluent. Schools need to properly pay their highly effective staff to keep them supporting students that need better teachers. The mindset needs to shift from the idea that these students are not capable of achieving academic success to holding them to the same high rigorous expectations of other students across the districts. Most importantly data-driven instruction needs to be implemented with fidelity in these schools.

Key Words: Achievement Gap, Affluent, DDDM, DDI, ELA, EL, M-STEP, NCLB, Opportunity Gap, PSAT