Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Fall 1-10-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Michelle Zoss

Second Advisor

Dr. Gholnecsar Muhammad

Third Advisor

Dr. Rhina Fernandes Williams


Despite overwhelming research about the negative effects of tracking on minority students, tracking is used to group students in more than 80% of middle schools in the United States. In racially diverse schools, school officials disproportionately place students of color in lower tracks and place an unjustifiable number of White students in the higher tracks, resulting in segregated classrooms. Using tracking to create segregated classes within racially diverse schools is called racialized tracking (Tyson, 2011). In this qualitative study, I explored the educational experiences of six Black girls who attended a middle school with racialized tracking. This study was grounded in Black Feminist Thought (Collins, 2015) to acknowledge the distinct social positioning of Black girls and the importance of their lived experiences. I drew upon Critical Race Theory (Delgado & Stefancic, 2017) to understand how racialized tracking preserved educational inequalities in the girls’ school. I analyzed the data using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2013), using the conceptual framework of intersectionality (Collins & Bilge, 2016) to understand how girls’ experiences were shaped by domains of power. Findings showed that all six girls 1) viewed tracking as an unfair hierarchy, 2) experienced othering and marginalization, 3) valued safe spaces and community, and 4) shaped their identities in resistance to negative stereotypes. The implications of this study call for schools and school districts to end tracking systems and create spaces that promote community and belonging for Black girls. Additionally, this study indicates the need for more diverse, inclusive, and comprehensive instruction of Black history and culture in middle schools. An important implication for all stakeholders is the need for antiracist training to adequately address the systemic and individual racism that Black girls face in school.


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