Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of at‐risk students in a rural district in Midwestern USA. Design/methodology/approach – This field‐based research study used a qualitative embedded case study of a middle and high school informed by an appreciative inquiry theoretical research perspective to identify a positive core of teacher and administrator experiences related to at‐risk students. At‐risk students are those who under‐perform in mandated academic assessments as well as school‐related academic achievement. Social capital and appreciative inquiry served as theoretical perspectives. Focus groups, semi‐structured interviews, and an online survey were the primary data‐gathering methods. Findings – Three findings illustrated the gap between present practice and the ideal state. The research team concluded that there was a foundation of positive core experiences from which to build on the espoused theory of caring professed by teachers and administrators. Originality/value – The study's results can further teachers' and administrators' understanding of their problem‐based language that emphasizes the deficits of at‐risk students and their parents.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 22, 2007
Keywords: Students; Social capital; Teachers; United States of America
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