A Heuristic Narratological Case Study of the Literacy Experiences of High School Seniors in an Urban High School
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The intended purpose of this heuristic, narratological, descriptive case study is to capture the individual experiences of a group of urban high school students as they pertain to literacy developmental opportunities. The theoretical framework utilized to organize the information and attempt to create meaning was constructed using four conceptual strands. The first strand is the examination of a growing gap in high school literacy achievement levels over the past five decades. The second strand questions the need for the creation of a working definition that identifies what key literacy practices entail. The third strand examines the current literacy instructional practices utilized at the high school level. The final strand examines the impact school leadership has on academic achievement. Based on the theoretical framework and methodology utilized for this research study, five case studies were used to try and better understand the research question “what can the personal narratives and life-long literacy experiences of urban high school students’ reveal as to the practices required to effectively improve literacy skills?” There were also three sub-questions; (1) What instructional experiences create the productive learning environments? (2) What is the relationship between cultural expectations and experiences and literacy development? (3) What role does school leadership play in developing and supporting the literacy practices found in urban high schools? The data utilized to examine these questions was document analysis, observations, and individual interviews. The findings of the study were surprising in that they point to influences beyond classroom practices as hindering student literacy attainment most significantly. Implications for leadership suggest that a shift in focus away from instructional pedagogy and towards student supports that address fundamental needs of a non-instructional nature can dramatically influence a student’s ability to acquire foundational literacy skills.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of the literature -- Methodology -- Findings -- Conclusion and recommendations -- Appendix A. Interview Protocol -- Appendix B. Observation Protocol -- Appendix C. District Consent Form
Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)