Children are the Messengers: A Case Study of Academic Success Through the Voices of High-Achieving Low-Income Elementary Students
Date of Award
Fall October 2015
Doctorate in Education
School or College
School of Education
Shane P. Martin
Karen K. Huchting
For low-income minority and marginalized communities, American democracy’s educational mission remains unfulfilled. Student voices have provided insight into ways that schools disserve and serve students and how schools can improve in promoting academic achievement; however, academically successful low-income students’ voices—particularly those at the elementary school level—are largely excluded from the literature. Providing a platform for student voices, this qualitative, intrinsic critical case study explored six high achieving low-income students’ views of their academic success and how that success was achieved. Participants were six fifthgrade students, their parents, and teacher, in a school-wide Title I urban public school. Data were collected over a 12-week period through individual interviews, observation, participation, and semiformal conversations. Using an immersive pattern analysis, four main categories emerged from the student interview data: student beliefs about their role; classroom structures; teacher practices; and family support. The study found four principal success factors: a dynamic effort-driven view of success and intelligence; a rigorous dialogic classroom that prioritized student voice, critical thinking, collaboration, and social imagination; an accountable classroom culture of high expectations and mastery learning; and the richly diverse experiences and teachings of parents and families as valuable funds of knowledge. Implications and recommendations are included for policy, practice, and future research.
McCray, Stephen Howard, "Children are the Messengers: A Case Study of Academic Success Through the Voices of High-Achieving Low-Income Elementary Students" (2015). LMU/LLS Theses and Dissertations. 180.
Educational Leadership Commons, Education Policy Commons, Elementary Education and Teaching Commons