Addressing the African American Achievement Gap


The achievement gap between African American students is a significant problem for the US education system. Despite numerous attempts to address the issue by the federal authorities, little progress was achieved. An article by Bowman et al. (2018) titled “Addressing the African American achievement gap: Three leading educators issue a call to action” analyzes core reasons associated with the achievement gap and provide several recommendations to address them. The present paper provides an overview and analysis of the article to indicate its strengths and weaknesses.


An article by Bowman et al. (2018) touches upon one of the central issues of the US education system: incorporating cultural diversity into educational settings to provide equal opportunity for students from different cultural backgrounds. In particular, the study discusses the achievement gap of African American students and their implications. The central purpose of the study was to outline factors that contribute to the achievement gap between African American students and their White counterparts and suggest strategies for educators and policymakers to equalize educational opportunities. The researchers decided to utilize qualitative methods to call all the stakeholders for action.

Bowman et al. (2018) did include any discussions of the method used to achieve the purpose. However, it is clear that the researchers utilized a narrative literature review with elements of observations as the primary method for their research. Bowman et al. (2018) expressed their opinions based their experience as educators, curriculum leaders, and policymakers and the reviewed literature. The authors focused on African American students as the population under analysis. However, it is unclear what was the actual sample size and the inclusion criteria. Even though the authors did not indicate the analysis method they used, it can be concluded that they summarized the current state of knowledge by outlining the major themes that appear in the literature.

The results of the research revealed that developmental differences, poverty, racism, curriculum, cultural differences, and insufficient teacher training leads to the appearance of the achievement gap. The researchers suggest that all stakeholders need to change their perception of education. Everyone needs to understand that education starts before schools and goes beyond good test scores. The policymakers need to make sure that the education system takes into consideration the learning experiences of non-White students and fosters partnerships between students, families, teachers, and school authorities. At the same time, a curriculum change is required to accommodate the cultural and developmental differences of children.


While the study comes to sensible conclusions, there are considerable drawbacks of the study design that may have led to bias. First, there is no clearly identified method for the research. The authors provided their personal opinions and aligned them with the findings of previous studies. The absence of clearly defined methods makes it difficult to benchmark to identify the validity and reliability of findings (Check & Schutt, 2012). Second, Bowman et al. (2018) did not mention the criteria for choosing the literature that was reviewed in the article. This may lead to the fact that the article does not summarize the current state of knowledge, as some of the research remained unnoticed. At the same time, the authors failed to acknowledge gaps in the current body of knowledge, which makes the literature review inconsistent and purposeless (Check & Schutt, 2012). It appears that the authors selected the studies that supported their opinion rather than provided a holistic overview of the problem. Finally, the analysis seems biased, as the authors did not acknowledge any confronting viewpoints. In other words, the analysis of literature does reveal if there are any arguments against the conclusions provided by the authors.

While the opinions of the authors may be biased, they are still valuable due to the high credibility of the authors. Barbara T. Bowman is a 91-year-old educator, Co-founder of Erikson Institute, with an extensive bibliography on education. James P. Comer is an 86-year older educator and policymaker with multiple awards and a high level of expertise in education in psychology. David J. Johns is an executive director of the National Black Justice League with extensive experience in fighting for the rights of racial minorities. All three authors are credible sources of knowledge on the subject under analysis, and their contribution is crucial for addressing the problem of underachievement of African American Students.

The central strength of the study is the provision of clear implications of the study. In the concluding paragraphs, Bowman et al. (2018) outlined ten recommendations that emerged from the study results. While these recommendations may be valuable for different types of stakeholders, they lack specificity. The provided recommendations are general notions that provide a framework for educators and policymakers. However, the authors failed to provide specific strategies that can be used for improving the current situation with the achievement gap between African American students and their White counterparts. Thus, future research should focus on elaborating specific strategies on all levels to address the problem.


Bowman, B. T., Comer, J. P., & Johns, D. J. (2018). Addressing the African American achievement gap: Three leading educators issue a call to action. YC Young Children, 73(2), 14-23.

Check, J., & Schutt, R. (2012). Research methods in education. SAGE Publications, Inc.

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ChalkyPapers. "Addressing the African American Achievement Gap." April 15, 2023.