Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Guillermo Montes

Second Supervisor

Chinwe Ikpeze


Early adolescence marks the time when African American students begin to develop their racial identity (Phinney & Tarver, 1988; Roberts, Phinney, Masse, Chen, Roberts & Romero, 1999; Tatum, 1997). With school being an important context for this process, it is suggested that a teacher’s racial identity developmental status might play a role in assisting African American students with this progression (Helms, 1990, 1994; Howard, 2006; Tatum, 1997). Missing from the research is an examination of White teacher and African American student interactions through the lens of the racial identity development of both. Using a survey design, this quantitative study focused on the White racial identity development stages of teachers who advise African American students. This research explored how the racial identity resolution of White teachers may predict educational, psychological, and social experiences of African American students. The following research question was investigated: Does scoring higher on Helm’s White Racial Identity Scale (Helms, 1990) relate to identifying correct answers on vignettes based on early adolescents in Cross’ model of Nigresence Racial Identity? Participants responded to three vignettes summarizing typical behaviors demonstrated by African American middle school students in three stages of Cross’ Black racial identity development. Teachers took the White Racial Identity Attitude Scale (Helms, 1999) to determine individual racial identity status. A statistical analysis of results determined that there was no correlation between the racial identity status of teachers and their ability to select correct responses to the vignettes. This study gave insight into understanding the importance of the racial identity status of White teachers when working with African American students.

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