Exploring Engagement through Critical Pedagogy for Black Students in a GED Program

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Leadership for Organizations


Department of Educational Administration


Advisor: Aaliyah Baker


This study examines and utilizes Critical Race Theory to understand how pedagogical training fails to train educators in recognizing and countering racism in standardized testing and General Equivalency Diploma (GED) preparatory courses. Black students continue to have the lowest pass rates in GED test performance based on a study of race and ethnicity, and this study examines a potential connection between the lack of critical pedagogy in GED preparational courses and the practices of GED teachers to address persistent inequities that add to race-based disparities. This research inquiry contributes to closing the race gaps in GED test scores for Black students by incorporating GED preparatory testing using critical pedagogy and multiculturalism to offer solutions to the ongoing and persistent failure rates in high-stakes testing. Examining educational disparities must include countering the lack of multiculturalism and anti-racist pedagogy in the GED test and preparatory courses. Existing studies of standardized testing examine educational disparities; however, insufficient research correlates failing high-stakes testing outcomes to the lack of anti-racist and critical pedagogy in curricular content, instructional teaching methods, and educational materials. The potential failure associated with utilizing high-stakes standardized testing has correlated implications of the need to examine the content of the test, the pedagogical training of the teachers, and how students’ racial identity influences the outcomes. The GED preparation courses prepare individuals to pass the GED test, which allows individuals to pursue higher education degrees that could potentially lead to a higher quality of life, especially for marginalized communities. It is essential to examine alternative strategies to address the unique needs of Black students through analyzing critical pedagogical approaches that Freire states will challenge learners to analyze power structures and patterns of inequality. Critical pedagogy is vital in a society that systematically creates barriers for communities of color based on socially constructed realities that must be continually explored and deconstructed. Therefore, examining the lack of cultural responsiveness in the test design may contribute to low test scores for Black students. There is a need to incorporate culturally sound pedagogy into the curriculum to increase the success ratio for Black students in the GED program and testing.


Critical Pedagogy, Multiculturalism in Education, Anti-Racist Frameworks in GED Preparational Coursework Engagement and Raising Test Scores with Black Students in Standardized Testing Systemic Racism in Standardized Testing GED Teachers' Cultural Competency Critical Pedagogical Training for Marginalized Communities

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