Disparities in the achievement between African American students, and their white peers are perspicuous through the exploration of the American educational paradigm; as it has remained unchanged through the decades, despite existing evidence of its need to evolve due to the dynamic American social zeitgeist. Current scholarly research seeks to illuminate the intersection of societal and systemic factors, as causes of the academic underachievement of African American students. It is worthwhile for stakeholders to consider this approach, as it is deemed to provide a more comprehensive statement, on how to intervene or accommodate students who fall within multiple marginalized groups. However, this literature review highlights the necessity of exploring the existence of the achievement gap from the singular viewpoints of racism and racial inequality. Sociological perspectives on racial inequality were explored to provide insight and create context on the passivity and apathy of systems and individuals, that instigate and perpetuate racial inequality. A survey of the markers that weaponize the achievement gap, such as disparities in discipline processes and course selection was conducted, as well as an exploration on those that functionalize it, such as disparities in grades, drop-out rates, college-completion rates, and standardized test-scores between African American students and white students.

Date of Award

Fall 12-9-2020

Document Type

Capstone Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Counselor Education

First Advisor

Anquinetta Calhoun

Unique Identifier

removed all caps, entered title case for the title



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