Don Coleman

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Damminger, Joanne


Universities and colleges--Entrance examinations; African-American students


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


There is limited research into the persistence, participation, and efforts of African American students in their preparation for college admission exams (SAT, ACT). Registration, attendance, and the experienced reality of African American students who voluntarily enrolled in an SAT prep program as well as perceptions of African American instructors were the foci of this mixed methods action research. This study examined the development of a Saturday SAT preparation program over an 18 month period. Theoretical frameworks of Stereotype Threat (STT) (Steele, 1992; Steele & Aronson, 1995) and schooling effects (Diamond, 2007; Kao & Thompson, 2003; Ladson-Billings 1995, 1997; Starratt, 2003; Tate, 2004) were the guiding interpretive frameworks (Creswell, 2007) of this investigation. Findings suggest that opportunity to learn (OTL), and STT themes of test anxiety and fear of low achievement influenced some study participants' decisions to register, attend, and experience a SAT preparation program. Moreover, this study documented a lack of overall student commitment to persist in the SAT program - a phenomenon that warrants additional research. Additionally, my development as a leader was assessed throughout this project. Through this study, I gained a better understanding of what leadership entails and how to improve my educational practices. I grew in my capacity as a teacher leader and realized that aspects of transactional leadership are embedded in my leadership.