Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Christine Lee Bae

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Moritz Rudasill


The United States historically has not always recognized the unique knowledge, or Funds of Knowledge (FoK; Moll et. al, 1992) that Black (and other historically marginalized) students’ have as assets to classroom learning and much of today’s mainstream curriculum represents White cultural norms as the basis (Sjursen, 2021). Because of this reality, marginalized students must navigate mainstream cultural norms alongside their own culture to be successful in the classroom. This three-paper dissertation includes 1. a systematic literature review of Black U.S. k-8 students language and identity in relation to achievement, 2. a qualitative case study centered on middle school urban Southeastern science teachers’ perspectives on FoK as well as FoK integration into the classroom, and 3. a QuantCrit case study that critically examines rural Midwestern kindergarten teachers’ survey responses regarding historically marginalized students.

The systematic literature review examined previous findings related to elementary and middle school Black students’ FoK, or knowledge based on their personal experiences and identities (Oughton, 2010; Baker, 2005; Moll et. al., 1992; Vélez- Ibáñez & Greenberg, 1990). The review determines 1. how Black students’ FoK can be leveraged to increase academic achievement, 2. how FoK has been incorporated and measured, and 3. the nature of the relationship(s) between the languages, racial/ethnic identity(ies), and academic learning of Black students.

The qualitative case study analyzed examples of students’ FoK and teacher incorporation of FoK into classroom lessons through the interviews of seven science middle school teachers in diverse and urban classrooms. This study used asset-based and culturally inclusive pedagogies that recognize students’ diverse identities, languages, and lived experiences (funds of knowledge, FoK) as valuable resources for learning (Moll et al., 1992). The goal of this study was to 1) explore teachers’ recognition of marginalized students’ diverse FoK, 2) examine teachers’ FoK and its relation to students’ FoK, as well as 3) investigate to what degree teachers integrate students FoK into their pedagogical approaches.

Finally, the goal of the QuantCrit case study was to quantitatively evaluate the experiences of historically marginalized student populations within a rural Midwestern kindergarten sample within the CRT framework (Garcia, et. al., 2018). The study drew upon multiple resistance frameworks (i.e. Critical Race Theory [Delgado & Stefancic, 2000], Critical Race Pedagogy [Curenton & Iruka, 2020; Yoo, 2010; Lynn, 1999], and Quant Crit [Garcia et. al., 2018; Garcia, & Mayorga, 2018]) aiming to promote equitable and positive culturally relevant pedagogies (Barrio, et. al., 2017; Kugler & West-Burns, 2010).


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