Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Sue Poppink


The phenomenological study examined the retrospective perceptions of academic experiences and outcomes of 13 African American full or part-time college students enrolled in either a community college or university located in an urban area. For the purpose of this study, educational experiences are defined as self-reported academic achievements and perceived success levels attained by participants during high school. Academic outcomes are the self-reported academic achievement and success level attained at their colleges and universities. The researcher interviewed participants, using a one-on-one interview process to conduct the interviews.

This study examined influences of race congruence between students and teachers. This topic was studied to determine if students find that being taught by a person who is of the same or different race influences their educational experiences and outcomes. African American college students’ retrospective appraisal of the role that teacher expectations, teacher-student racial congruity, and stereotype threat played in their high school education, guided this study. Findings from the participant interviews produced four major themes: perceptions of teacher expectations, stereotypes, stereotype threat, and racial congruence.

Examining this concept gives educators the opportunity to understand how African American students view their educational experiences and the role these theories plays in students’ academic outcomes. Results from the present study provide data to better understand the achievement gap and how to bring closure to the gap, helps educators and policymakers reset their perspectives and priorities as they relate to African American students, encourages and suggests the implementation of diversity training programs and curriculum as they relate to African American students, and reflects teacher expectations and perceptions of African American students.

Recommendations for further research include: (a) examining how teacher expectations, racial congruence, and stereotype threat, as they relates to African American students, might be impacting the achievement gap, (b) conducting a longitudinal research design to extend the study by following students throughout college to graduation to determine how racial congruence between instructors and students in college influenced their college outcomes, and (c) using a mixed-method research design to study a multicultural group of students (e.g., Black, White, Hispanic, Asian) and teacher racial congruence.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access