Where Is the Real Reform? African American Students and Their School’s Expectations for Academic Performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Although education reforms have been designed to improve academic achievement for all students, there may be intervening factors, such as teacher expectations, that interfere with the success of these initiatives. This ethnographic case study examined student and teacher perspectives on an urban high school reform, and how that reform was experienced within the classroom by African American students. Findings suggest that these African American students felt a strong sense of positive identity with their small school, despite racist public perceptions of it. Within the classroom, students continued to face persistent low academic expectations despite the school’s pursuits of equity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-429
Number of pages33
JournalUrban Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019



  • ecology of education
  • race and ethnicity
  • school expectancy theory
  • school reform
  • self-fulfilling prophecy
  • small schools
  • teacher belief
  • urban education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Urban Studies

Cite this