A STUDY OF THE FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF EIGHTH GRADE HISPANIC LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT STUDENTS IN A MAJOR

URBAN SCHOOL DISTRICT

A Dissertation by Rebecca H. Duong

Submitted to the College of Graduate Studies Prairie View A & M University In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

May 2009

Major Subject: Educational Leadership

ABSTRACT A Study of the Factors Related to the Academic Achievement of Eighth Grade Hispanic Limited English Proficient Student in a Major Urban School District (May 2009) Rebecca Duong; B.A.-University of Houston M.Ed., Prairie View University Dissertation Chair: William Allan Kritsonis, Ph.D. In Texas, eighth grade LEP Hispanic students ranging in age from 13 to 16 have a crucial decision in choosing to attend high school and working towards college level pursuits or continue attending school until they can legally dropout of school. For the past decade, Hispanics, the fastest growing population in Texas, are identified as a group with possibilities of academic failure (Pianta et al., 2002). For LEP students to become academically successful, educational leaders must embrace a strong commitment to LEP students’ educational needs and future aspirations. “Language minority students are a national resource to be nurtured and encouraged to attain their maximum level of achievement, just like any other children in our educational system” (Peterson et al., 2001). In order to fulfill this task, school and individual factors were examined. This study used the following school factors as variables: school climate, classroom environment, and quality of LEP instruction. The following individual factors were used as variables: intrinsic motivation and social goals. Individual factors were defined as components associated with a student’s background, thoughts, beliefs, and behavior that affect the academic achievement of LEP students. The main variable in this study was the eighth grade middle school Hispanic LEP student’s academic achievement, measured by TAKS Reading scores. This study focused on how

i

middle school Hispanic LEP students’ perceptions of factors that will positively or negatively affects his/her academic achievement.

ii

Table of Contents Abstract Table of Contents Chapter I. Introduction Background of the Problem Statement of the Problem Purpose of the Study Research Questions Theoretical Frame of Reference School Factors School Climate Safe and Orderly Environments Opportunities for Student Participation High Expectations Student-Staff Cohesion and Support Classroom Environment Quality of Academic Instruction Individual Factors Motivation to Achieve Social Goals Assumptions Limitations of Study Definition of Terms i iii 1 1 6 8 8 10 10 10 11 11 11 13 13 15 17 17 18 20 20 21

iii

Summary Chapter II. Review of Literature Academic Achievement School Factors School Climate Safe and Orderly Environments Opportunities for Student Participation High Expectations Student-Staff Cohesion and Support Classroom Environment Quality of Academic Instruction Individual Factors Motivation to Achieve Social Goals Chapter III. Methodology Introduction Quantitative Questions Hypotheses Research Design Subjects of the Study Instrumentation Validity and Reliability Data Analysis

23 25 25 33 33 34 35 37 39 42 46 49 49 53 60 60 60 62 63 63 64 67 67

iv

Summary Chapter IV. Analysis of Data Introduction Participants Results Relationship Between Student Achievement and School Factors Relationship Between Student Achievement and Individual Factors Relationship Between Student Achievement and Student’s Aspirations Factors Summary of Findings Chapter V. Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations. Summary Research Questions Conclusions Research Question Number 1 Research Question Number 2 Research Question Number 3 Research Question Number 4 Research Question Number 5 Research Question Number 6 Research Question Number 7 Recommendations Recommendations for Educational Leaders and Administrators

69 70 70 70 73 73 82

90 91 95 95 95 98 98 100 102 103 105 108 109 111 111

v

School Climate Classroom Environment and Quality of Academic Instruction Motivation and Social Goals Recommendations for Further Study References Appendixes Appendix A Survey Questionnaire Appendix B Two-Part Essay Question Appendix C Letter Requesting Permission to Survey Participants Appendix D Letter Requesting Permission to Participants Appendix E Letter Requesting Permission from Participants Parents or Guardian Vita

111 112 113 114 115 136 136 142 146 147

151 155

vi

List of Tables and Figure Table 1 Number of Eligible and Available Participants form each campus That Completed the Survey 2 3 Demographic and Background of Students Who Completed the Study Correlation Results Between the Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and School and Individual Factors 4 5 Response to the Two-Part Essay-Student Perception of School Factors Response to the Two-Part Essay-Student Perception of Teachers and Academic Instruction 6 7 Response to the Two-Part Essay-Student Perception of Reasons to Attend School Response to the Two-Part Essay-Student Perception of Peers and Their Influence On Student Achievement 8 Correlation Results Between the Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS Scores and Perception of Future Educational Achievement *** Figure 1 Academic Achievement of eighth grade Hispanic LEP Students Based on School And Individual Factors 24 91 88 81 86 76 78 72 Page 71

i

vii

1 Chapter 1 Introduction Background of the Problem Ever-increasing numbers of Hispanic students enroll in U.S. public schools each year. Findings in the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data (CCD) survey, the United States has experienced a dramatic demographic change with an increase of more than 55% of Hispanics making up the overall population of public school enrollment in 2007 (National Center for Education Statistics. 2007). In 2005-2006, 18.9 % of public school students were Hispanic, an increase from 13.8% in 1993-1994 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). In addition to being classified as Limited English Proficient (LEP) students, middle school can be a complicated moment in time for LEP students unless they have supportive experiences (Harris & Lowery, 2002). The importance of recognizing that LEP students in middle school come with unique strengths, challenges, and needs is crucial in affecting their academic achievement. For example, in the CCD report (2007), regarding Hispanic public school enrollment, researchers used demographic data to analyze common characteristics of LEP Hispanic students at different grade levels. The report revealed crucial academic changes occurring throughout the middle school years (Martin et al., 2002). These changes may affect LEP students’ academic achievement. For example, state laws in Texas require LEP students enrolled in 7-10 grades to be transferred from English Learning Bilingual Institute classrooms to ESL (English As Second Language) classrooms after the completion of a LEP student’s first year in the U.S. (Logan, 2004). Policymakers believe after the first year of language acquisition skills, these students

2 should be prepared to be mainstreamed in ESL classrooms. Meanwhile new arrivals of LEP immigrant students are added to the Language Institute classroom. This transfer may assist in clarifying and explaining how transitioning from elementary level to secondary level can cause a decrease in Hispanic LEP students’ academic achievement. Although LEP students new to the country have acquired minimal language acquisition after their first year, they may not be fully prepared for the rigors of mainstream ESL classrooms as well as standard classrooms (Gusman, 1996). In addition, these students are held accountable under the same state testing accountability standard as other students, which add pressure to the students as well as the teachers. This dramatic increase of diversity and high-stakes accountability requirements in middle school classrooms have sparked politically charged debates encompassing the identification of school and individual factors that contribute to LEP students’ academic achievement success (Harris & Lowery, 2002). For this study, school factors included school climate, classroom environment, and quality of academic instruction. Individual factors included motivation to achieve and social goals of LEP students. If educators understand the implications of these factors then the academic performance of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students in middle schools can be further improved. At the core of policymakers’ decisions is accountability of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Legislation (Logan, 2004). NCLB legislation requires all students enrolled in public schools be proficient in reading and math by the year 2014 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). With the increasing numbers of Hispanics enrolled in public schools, educators across the country are concerned that since proficiency standards must be met by all groups including Hispanic LEP students, how will schools be ready?

3 Alarming nationwide statistics conducted in 2005 shows middle school academic achievement scores in mathematics and reading for LEP Hispanic students were inferior to other ethnic groups (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). In math, 72% of eighth grade LEP students scored lower than standard basic skills level. For reading, 72% of eighth grade LEP students also scored lower than standard basic reading skills (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). Published studies and state reports in Texas discuss the implications of the increasing rate of illiteracy in the Hispanic community due to dropout rates in middle school and high school. Through the years, data and surveys based on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) confirms how middle schools in Texas may be leaving ESL students behind (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). Findings of the analysis of NAEP national standardized testing scores show in 2007, 53% of eighth grade LEP students are below other ethnic groups in reading and math scores. One out of every two Hispanic LEP student will have to improve in order for the Hispanic population to achieve in comparison to other ethnic groups (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). These findings can lead to LEP Hispanic students not succeeding academically and deciding not to attend school on a regular basis, and eventually dropping out of school. According to Rumberger and Lamb (2003), “Understanding why students drop out of school is a difficult if not an impossible task because, as with other forms of educational achievement, it is influenced by an array of individual and institutional factors” (p. 147), factors which are school and individual related. Many studies have suggested that the dynamic and cumulative process of disengagement is the final stage when students decide to stay in school or drop out. (Rumberger & Larson, 1998).

4 Understanding how these factors affect a LEP student in middle school can help decrease this disengagement before he/she enters into high school. As a result, this increasing dropout rate among LEP students has left educators to question whether or not schools are providing students who come from backgrounds that are linguistically or socioculturally distinct from the white majority with an education that is “being true to their full growth” (Delpit, 1992; Dewey, 1997; Moje, 2000; Suarez-Orozco and Suarez-Orozco, 2001). In a report released by the Texas Educational Excellence Project (TEEP) in 2002, the dropout rate among Hispanic youth is high compared to other ethnic groups. Nearly one in three Hispanic students fail to graduate from high school (Suarez-Orozco and Suarez-Orozco, 2001). There are numerous reasons why Hispanic students drop out. These reasons may be due to school factors beginning in middle school such as school climate, the classroom environment and the quality of academic instruction for these students (Dayton et al., 2004). For example, many schools may be overcrowded, lack of instructional ESL materials, inadequately staffed to teach LEP students in the classroom, and lack of resources in schools which do not meet middle school LEP students’ educational needs affecting individual factors such as lack of motivation and antisocial activities (Lezotte, 1993; Yi-Chen, 2007; Leathley & Mavis, 2006; Rossiter, 2001). In essence, Hispanic youths may not believe that remaining in school will improve their lives in the future. Negative school factors such as failing academically, retention, or frequent discipline write-ups in middle and high school can be a deciding reason in a LEP student’s choice to drop out of high school (Rumberger & Thomas, 2000). In order to prevent disadvantaged students from dropping out, effective strategies must meet the needs of Hispanic LEP students because

5 middle schools become less personable; the curriculum becomes more complex, as well as a growing need to be accepted by peers (Bryk & Thum, 1989). In 1995, Richard W. Riley, the former U.S. Secretary of Education began the Hispanic Dropout Project (HDP) which continued over a two year period (Salvin & Madden, 1998). This project targeted specific policy and practice recommendations which were developed to reduce the Hispanic dropout rate. This project collected information on the school experiences of Hispanic students across the U.S., including their personal views on education. The two year project uncovered the importance of middle schools years in retaining at-risk LEP students in order for these students to further their education in high school (Lockwood & Secada, 1999). The identification of school factors and individual factors can help improve the academic achievement of young LEP teenagers experiencing a turbulent period of emotional and physical development in middle school (Ochoa et al., 2005). This ever-increasing dropout rate of Hispanics in middle and high school has caused educators to research how these factors can undo the negative attitudes related to school (Lockwood & Secada, 1999). The factors identified were divided into two categories. The school factors included: school climate, classroom environment, and the quality of academic instruction. The individual factors included: motivation to achieve and an individual’s social goals while attending school. This investigation attempted to examine how research-based literature pertaining to individual and school factors influenced how Hispanic Limited English proficient eighth grade students perceived these factors as affecting his or her academic success and, in turn, ultimately helped in decreasing the Hispanic dropout rates in Texas before and after these students enter high school.

6 Statement of the Problem Spanish speaking families arrive to Texas from all around the world, with a diversity of academic experiences and social backgrounds. While these students are an important asset to our schools, they also bring with them language problems that challenge the students and educators. The U.S. Census Bureau of 2003 reported that 58% of 25 years and older Hispanics are high school graduates compared to 85% of white graduates. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 33.2% of Hispanics who are over the age of 25 have below an eighth grade education, and only 26.4% of the same population have graduated from high school (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). Only 6.9% of Hispanics who are over the age of 25 hold a bachelor’s degree (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). These findings have educators looking for solutions to the rising illiteracy rate of youths within the Hispanic population. When Hispanics drop out of school, the emerging new economy becomes challenging to Hispanics due to lack of basic literacy skills (Dayton et al., 2004). In this ever-changing technological society, Hispanics needs to develop precise proficiencies in order to stay competitive and be a part of the skilled workforce. Even jobs considered traditional such as an auto technician entails a more complex and broader range of skillfulness such as the capability to use computers to diagnose car trouble (Dayton et al., 2004). Instead of waiters and waitresses taking orders with pen and paper, restaurants are using touch screen computer-based operations as well as for billing customers. These types of jobs require employees to be literate in English and acquire technological proficiency skills (DelliCarpini et al., 2001). As computers and advanced technology become commonplace features across workplaces, the requirements for basic and technical skills of traditional jobs in industries, retail and grocery are changing (DelliCarpini et al., 2001). In order to keep up with the changes and

7 trends in the workforce, policy makers and educators are investigating how school and individual factors can help young Hispanic LEP students realize the value and importance in continuing their education and further improving their work skills throughout their life, thus, restructuring the increasing economic competitiveness of Texas, as well as job security of the individual (Haynes, 1998). A recent survey conducted by the Educational Testing Service (2007), have found that between 27% to 28% of Hispanics adults in the United States fall into the lowest level of reading literacy skills (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007b). In Texas, 50% to 60% of Hispanics fall into this category (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). Through time, these individuals will attempt to become a part of the Texas workforce. Employers have stated that many of these individuals are applying for jobs they are not qualified for. These emerging new jobs will require Hispanics to acquire knowledge and be educated with new skills in order to be productive and successful (Dayton et al., 2004). The challenges of employing increasing number of Hispanics will require cooperation, collaboration and innovative training between educators, trainers and employers (Slavin & Madden, 1998). Employers are in vital need of skilled and educated workers and individuals, but individuals who are unqualified are lost opportunities for Texas, their communities and their families. In identifying factors that will aid in the academic achievement of eighth grade LEP students, educators will be able to prepare these individuals to continue from middle school through high school and beyond. These factors will also help educational leaders provide a vision for continual support and essential job skill training for lifelong learning and success (Slavin & Madden, 1998). School factors and individual factors can be a crucial part to understanding how these variables have a positive effect on the academic achievement of middle

8 school LEP Hispanic students. The academic needs of thousands of Hispanics substantiate the need for additional research, progress and implementation of innovative approaches for educational success (Wortham et al., 2002). Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to identify school and individual factors that were perceived by eighth grade Hispanic Limited English proficient middle school students as positively influencing his/her academic achievement. Determining which school and individual factors were positive impacts on his or her academic achievement may impact future policy decisions of local and state school boards related to services to LEP students in middle school. These policy decisions will ultimately influence program decisions in an effort to use the information to maximize the learning outcomes of all Hispanic students. The results of this study will also be useful to educational leaders. Research Questions To ensure that all eighth grade Hispanic LEP students will be prepared to face the challenges in society and the workplace, educators must understand school and individual factors that offers the greatest academic achievement. School Factors include: a. b. c. School Climate Classroom Environment Quality of Academic Instruction

Individual Factors include: a. b. Motivation To Achieve Social Goals

9 These factors were identified and studied in the research questions. The questions addressed in this study were: Quantitative Questions: 1. Is there a significant relationship between the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of a positive school climate? 2. Is there a significant relationship between of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of a positive classroom environment? 3. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of the quality of academic instruction? 4. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the students’ motivation to achieve? 5. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the students’ social goals? 6. What is the relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 20082009 Reading TAKS score and the combined responses to their perceptions of the importance of: a. b. c. d. school climate classroom environment quality of academic instruction motivation to achieve

10 e. individual social goals 7. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the students’ educational aspirations? Theoretical Frame of Reference Researched-based theories pertaining to identified school factors and individual factors that may affect eighth grade Hispanic LEP students’ academic achievement was used in this investigation. School Factors School Climate Characteristics of schools can affect and help define the climate of the school. The following characteristics have been identified as influencing school climate: 1. 2. Safe and orderly environment (Murphy, 1989) Opportunities for student participation and leadership (Rumberger et al., 2000; Wynne, 1980) 3. 4. High expectations for students (Edmunds, 1979; Rumberger et al., 2000) Student-staff cohesion and support of differences (Wynne, 1980)

Safe and Orderly Environments “Effective schools maintain a safe and orderly environment for learning” (Murphy, 1989). A safe and orderly school consists of two factors. The first factor is a school community free from the danger of harm for students and staff members. In other words, students and staff members felt secure and comfortable walking around the school rather than feeling threatened and insecure.

11 A second factor is a school community that has developed an organized set of disciplinary guidelines and procedures. Effective schools continuously review school policies and procedures. These expectations and policies have been agreed upon by educational leaders, teachers, parents and students. Gandara (1999) indicates that the penalty of not following the rules “are incremental in nature, immediate, hard to avoid, and consistent throughout the school” (p. 182). As a result, all stakeholders, administrators, teachers, students and parents must work together to maintain an orderly and safe learning environment. Opportunities for Student Participation Student participation and responsibility are crucial in a positive school climate. Rutter et al. (1979) found that students who were given responsibility at their schools felt a feeling of ownership in school tasks resulting in improvement of individual student behavior, improvement in attendance, less misbehavior and ultimately higher achievement of these students. Murphy states that the key aspect of student participation includes “opportunities for students to learn responsibility, to practice leadership behavior, to identify with adult role models, and to learn the skills of participation” (Murphy, 1989). When students are given an opportunity to take responsible roles, they are more likely to identify with educational goals due to a feeling of satisfaction in their personal accomplishments and achievements. Successful schools ensure curriculum and student activities involve the participation of students (Wortham et al., 2002). High Expectations “Schools that believe in high expectations for all students will provide the support for students to achieve these expectations for high rates of academic success” (Brook et al., 1989; Edmonds, 1986; Howard, 1990; Levin, 1988; Murphy, 1989; Rutter et al., 1979; Slavin et al., 1989; Wortham et al., 2002). High expectations refer to an environment where staff members

12 expect all students to succeed, teachers feel a high sense of teacher efficacy in their capability to influence academic achievement in students, and feel a sense of accountability for student learning. High expectations in schools involve comprehensive classroom and school practices, policies, procedures and expected behaviors. For example, teachers who emphasize certain shared characteristics: an emphasis on academic success for all students, clear expectations and procedures, active student participation in programs and support for extracurricular activities believe in high expectations for their students (Torres, 2003). A positive school climate enhances the learning opportunities for immigrant students. The quality of learning for immigrant students correlates to teachers believing in these students and holding high expectations for their academic success. In the book Fifteen Thousand Hours, Rutter (1979) emphasized the effect of poverty and its affect on student academic achievement in London between various schools. His findings showed significant differences in these schools’ accountability in areas of misbehavior, attendance, and academic success. The successful schools shared common characteristics in practice and procedures. One noteworthy result is that students who attended successful schools, showed a decrease in disruptive behavior (Wortham et al., 2002). In unsuccessful schools, the longer students attended the school, the more they continued disruptive behaviors. Rutter (1979) concluded that ‘Schools that foster high self-esteem and promote social and scholastic success reduces the likelihood of emotional and behavioral disturbance’ (p.83). During the last decade, researchers have found successful programs with high expectations of school programs is a significant factor in decreasing the number of students atrisk in dropping out of school as well as increasing the number of students attending college (Wortham et al., 2002). Two programs established by researchers: Slavin’s Success for All

13 Project and Levin’s Accelerated Schools Program reveal that low-achieving students who are placed in an engaging and challenging curriculum with high expectations create positive academic achievement and positive social outcomes (Levin, 1988; Wortham et al., 2002). In contrast, Kohl (1994), found when students, particularly a high percentage of minority students, were labeled as slow learners and placed into low ability classes, the results reflected a higher number of school dropouts. Student-Staff Cohesion and Support A positive student-teacher relationship is crucial for a constructive school climate. Galloway and Gallenberger (1999) believed that positive student-teacher relationships were linked with good behavior. Wynne (1980) pointed out the significance of positive relationships and extracurricular activities contribute to a school’s unity. Programs and activities shared by students and staff promote an atmosphere of students being active and taking ownership in their learning (Torres, 2003). These research studies found a consistency that when student-teacher relationships were positive, students are more inclined to work harder and to enjoy achieving academically. Research proves that school climate has a directly affects student achievement. The connection between positive learning environments creates positive learning outcomes (Torres, 2003). Classroom Environment Piaget’s theory of a constructivist framework was used in this investigation to describe a positive classroom environment. A constructivist framework encompasses around a curriculum design consisting of discovery learning (Fogarty, 1991). In a constructivist classroom, new external information is not simply taken in, rather a continuous and natural building and rebuilding of richer and more complex connection of meanings by the learner (Olsen, 1999).

14 This type of discovery learning supports hands-on learning in classrooms today. Activities created by teachers that requires students to use their prior knowledge and experiences to construct their own frames of thought can make learning meaningful to LEP Hispanic students (Ream & Rumberger, 2008). This is especially beneficial to Hispanic LEP students. LEP students need a supportive classroom atmosphere where differences are not neglected, but are valued and discussed. Students’ inquiry into learning approaches places them into situations that encourage the internalization of major concepts through critical thinking; giving students opportunities to articulate ideas, analyze biases and fallacies in an environment free from intimidation and threat (Ream & Rumberger, 2008). Constructing meaning that empowers each learner to make meaning through examination and analysis are essential elements in a constructivist classroom. The theory calls for a “student centered education.” The focal point of learning are the students because when students feel the lesson is pertinent, they are more motivated to learn and think critically towards the lesson being taught (Johnson & Johnson, 1997). All people learn at different rates. Constructivist classrooms have students learn through their own involvement and action. The goal is to stir students’ curiosity through previous background knowledge while developing interests toward the materials being taught. To achieve this goal, teachers should understand the importance of knowing their students’ development, interests, hobbies, favorite music, shows, and so forth (McEvoy & Welker, 2000). For example, students’ informal conversations with one another, with teachers, in cooperative groups, and dialectic or personal journals, are rich sources of personal insights that can help teachers connect students’ lives and the content of the curriculum.

15 A constructivist classroom provides tools to students in a learner-centered curriculum focused on experimentation, investigation and inquiry. Classrooms are interactive environments with an emphasis on metacognitive reflection (Shore, 1995). The constructivist philosophy encompasses these fundamental characteristics while exemplifying lifelong influences towards successful academic achievement for all students. Quality of Academic Instruction For the purpose of this investigation, LEP instruction focused on instruction that improved the education of LEP children, assisting in English acquisition as well as meeting challenging state academic curricula as well as student achievement standards. Based on state regulations, LEP students are exempted from TAKS testing their first three years enrolled in a public U.S. school. In the district being examined, 7th and eighth grade students are placed in the Language Institute inclusion classroom their 1st year in the country. In their 2nd year, students are placed in mainstream ESL (English as Second Language) classroom. The investigation focused on eighth grade LEP Hispanic students’ academic achievement after their 3rd year in the U.S. This study tracked Reading TAKS scores of participating eighth grade LEP Hispanic students who were enrolled in ESL classrooms after their 3rd year of enrollment. Quality LEP instruction involves the development and implementation of language educational instructional programs and academic content instruction in a middle school setting. Cummins (1980; 1981; 1996) hypothesized two forms of English proficiencies that consist of quality LEP instruction. Basic interpersonal conversational skills (BICS) is the first from of English language acquisition that LEP students acquire when they have informal conversations within social situations. BICS English consists of contextual cues when two people, the speaker and the listener are engaged in conversation, with little stress on the acquisition of language. For

16 example, LEP students can effortlessly narrate personal experiences orally once they master language fluency. According to Cummins (1980), BICS English can be acquired in 2 to 3 years for LEP students. This form of language acquisition progresses in a shorter period of time as well as easier to acquire. The second form of English proficiency is cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). CALP is found in written texts in content areas such as mathematics, history and science. Due to the content of the information, LEP students’ ability to understand what they have read and to articulate what they learned can be a struggle. CALP requires high demands of cognition. In addition, Cummins reports the acquisition of CALP language takes 5 to 7 years for LEP students to be proficient. Unlike BICS learning, CALP learning is a long-term progression of comprehension skills. Collier (1987, 1989; Collier & Thomas, 1989) suggests for many LEP students, mastering cognitive language proficiency (CALP) while being on grade level in the classroom takes approximately 10 years. More importantly, LEP students’ ability to acquire CALP is dependent upon the quality of English instruction they receive in the classroom. In pull-out classrooms, Collier and Thomas (1989) reported that LEP students took more extensive time to reach equivalent grade level compared to native English speakers. The significance of understanding how BICS and CALP is acquired signify that in order for Hispanic LEP students to be successful academically when reading and comprehending content area textbooks, as well as perform cognitively demanding tasks, CALP English needs to be developed and mastered. In other words, quality LEP instruction involves mastery of cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) with meaningful content-based curriculum for LEP students. Curriculum should provide purposeful, meaningful, and authentic opportunities for LEP students (Torres, 2003). Content-based curriculum gives LEP students grade-appropriate content knowledge that

17 replicates curriculum in mainstream classrooms. Although there is a considerable difference in the background knowledge between LEP students and mainstream students, content-based curriculum can provide LEP students with opportunities to be at the same academic level as mainstream students’ background knowledge. According to Chamot and O’Malley (1994), content-based curriculum is a motivational factor for LEP students. Once LEP students comprehend the content-based instruction, they will feel prepared and challenged with highstandard curriculum knowledge comparable to mainstream classes. Individual Factors Motivation to Achieve Motivation plays a fundamental role in a student’s achievement ability. A student’s level of motivation has the capacity to take precedence over other factors, such as lack of language acquisition, which can affect academic achievement in both negative and positive ways. The majority of motivational research on second language is due to R. Gardner’s (1972; 1983; 1985) motivational constructs research. There are two levels in Gardner’s motivational model: goal or oriented motivation and core motivation. Goal or oriented level is the learner’s level of desire to accomplish or achieve a task, in other words, the learner’s attitudes towards the learning situation. Gardner describes the second level as core second language motivation learning consisting of three characteristics: the affect which are attitudes towards the learning process, the want which is the desire to learn a new language and the effort which consists of individual motivation to achieve. According to Gardner, an individual who is highly motivated will want to learn, enjoy the experience and strive to achieve. Gardner’s definition of motivation “the extent to which the individual works or strives to learn the language because of a desire to do so and the

18 satisfaction experience in this activity” is the premise for his theory on motivational learning (Gardner, 1985). In other words, motivation is goal-directed and driven by individual achievement. The motivation to achieve takes into account expectancy of the outcome as well as the incentive value of success (Torres, 2003). For example, when the student feels responsibility and control over the learning situation, the student will do what is necessary to be academically successful. When students take ownership in their learning, cooperative learning can result. Learning in the classroom becomes goal structure and provides group cohesiveness. For example, proficient students become supportive classmates and assist peers who need extra help, in turn, building motivational learning autonomy and self determination and (Brophy, 1985; Dörnyei, 1994; Torres, 2003). Social Goals In the natural process towards social development, learning to socialize is vital for individuals to assimilate into society standards (Deci & Ryan, 1985:116; Cejda et al., 2002). As middle school students, finding ones identity within a school can be exciting, but also stressful. To many students, feeling a sense of belonging is imperative towards academic success (Cejda et al., 2002). This feeling of belonging is acceptance by other students, and the individual’s perception that teachers and peers genuinely are concerned for the individual’s welfare. According to Gusman (1996), “Everything in the classroom revolves around relationships and nothing else.” When students build relationships with each other, his or her influence on each other becomes evident. For example, norms, beliefs, and attitudes of the group within the school community can range from the type of clothing the group wears, the type of music they listen to, and eventually their attitude towards academic success (Gusman, 1996).

19 These relationships play a role in the language acquisition of the LEP students. The process of socialization will not only affect the LEP student, but will affect his or her second language acquisition. According to Wong Fillmore (1989) language acquisition consists of three components: LEP learners, the social environment, and speakers of the native language. In order to promote communication English, Fillmore’s article (1989) believes the creation of a social setting environment has to be created. Communication is a natural process when students are choosing friends. Individuals choose friends with similar race, beliefs and socioeconomic status (Kubitschek & Hallinan, 1998), as well as similar academic ability (Hallinan & Sorensen, 1985; Kinderman, 1993; Cejda et al., 2002). As a result, peer pressure from friends can make the difference between a LEP student performing successfully in school or feeling discouraged, and in some instances students feeling the need to drop out of school. Peer groups may propel one student to have little concern for school, while motivating another student to study and succeed. Many studies indicate that motivated LEP students and academically successful students build relationships with peers who have similar characteristics. On the other hand low-achieving delinquent LEP students who are unmotivated associate with peers with similar negative behavior (McEvoy & Welker, 2000). Many LEP students increase or decrease their achievement aspirations in order to fit in with their peer group (Fry, 2007; Greene & Winters, 2002; Hoy et al., 2002). Berndt and Keefe (1996) identified four aspects of peer influence. The first is peer approval, in which students seek peer approval, behaving the way they feel their friends will approve. Secondly, students’ decide to choose friends who share similar characteristics. (Hallinan & Williams, 1990; DeRosier et al., 1994; Cejda et al., 2002). The third aspect is self-

20 enhancement, where students compare and evaluate their competence to peers. The fourth is the desire to feel their actions and beliefs are justifiable to others. Peer group approval is linked to self-esteem and self-worth (Freiberg, 1998). When students in a peer group rejects an individual into his or her group, this can form negative self-esteem issues and eventually to negative feelings towards school leading to poor academic achievement (DeRosier et al., 1994; Cejda et al., 2002). Assumptions The following were assumed for the study: 1. 2. Data gathered from the participants were factual. LEP students participating were classified as LEP students in the school currently enrolled. 3. LEP students who participated in the personal essays and questions were truthful and objective in their responses. 4. Responses in the study were accurately recorded and appropriately coded. Limitations of the Study The limitations of the study included the following possibilities: 1. This study was limited to eighth grade LEP Hispanic students of selected middle schools in a large school district in Texas. The findings of this study may not be applicable to other grade levels in Texas and may not be applicable to eighth grade LEP Hispanic students in other states. 2. The research findings may not have the same implications and results to educators who are interested in factors that affect the academic achievement of other ethnic LEP populations.

21 3. Although the unique qualities of the chosen LEP Hispanic students may generalize the results to other LEP Hispanic students throughout the country, the students chosen were participants who best answered the survey research questions for this study. 4. The study focused on selected individual and school factors. Other factors not included in this study that may be used for further research are parental support to schools, parental educational background, socioeconomic status, as well as numerous other factors not yet investigated. 5. Data collection of self-reports completed by the participants may not be true perceptions because the participant may have felt he or she needed to respond to questions how he or she thought the investigator expected. 6. The self-report questionnaire literacy level may have been at a higher reading level than the participant. Thus, the participant may have answered the question with lack of understanding. Definition of Terms For the purpose of this study, the following terms are defined: English Language Learners (ELL)- Students who speak a language other than English as a first language, and who have been identified as English language learners using the criteria approved by the Texas Education Agency (Pianta et al., 2003). Limited English Proficient (LEP) students- Students who speak a language other than English as a first language, and who have been identified as English language learners using the criteria approved by the Texas Education Agency (Pianta et al., 2003).

22 English as a Second Language (ESL) –Students whose English is limited in learning to listen, speak, read, and write English. ESL students are students enrolled in English-speaking public schools but who speaks language(s) other than English at home (Haynes, 1998). Academic Achievement –2008 Reading TAKS(Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) scores of eighth grade middle school participants. A scale of 0-100 of the Reading TAKS scores will be utilized. Student Achievement-For the purpose of this study students’ achievement will refer to middle school LEP Hispanic students’ Reading TAKS scores (Chamot & O’Malley, 1994). Motivation to Achieve-For the purpose of this study, the desire to succeed academically by attending school due to individual intrinsic as well as extrinsic drive (Barber & Olsen, 2004). Background Variables-Variables defined as the demographic characteristics of the participants (Berman, 1997). LEP Instruction- For the purpose of this study, program of instruction in which all academic programs and curriculum are offered to Limited English Proficient students (Murphy, 1989). Classroom Environment- Classrooms where high expectations of the classroom teacher facilitate and provide tools to LEP students. Curriculum is learner-centered, interactive classroom settings, enriched curriculum environments, instruction differentiated, experimentation, inquiry, and investigation, in addition to metacognitive reflection (Fogarty, 1999). School Climate- Elements that comprise the school: school safety, discipline, LEP student participation in extracurricular activities and programs, quality of interactions between teachers and students, LEP students’ perception of their school environment, high expectations for LEP students (McEvoy & Welker, 2000).

23 Social Goals- For the purpose of this study, a LEP students’ choice of friends and feeling a sense of belonging to a certain group of friends (Gusman, 1996). Teacher Expectations-Teachers’ belief about the future academic achievement of students (Maehr & Archer, 1987). Summary The assumption in Chapter I was that school and individual factors were distinguishing factors that may affect the academic achievement of middle school LEP Hispanic students. School factors: school climate, classroom environment, and the quality of LEP instruction are investigated. Individual factors: academic motivation and individual social goals are examined. This chapter included the statement of the problem, the research questions, the limitations, and the definition of terms. The discussion of the literature review on school and individual factors that may affect the academic achievement of middle school Hispanic LEP students is presented in Chapter II. Chapter III consists of the data collection methods, procedures, instrumentation, and data analysis. The results of the data collected during the study will be presented in Chapter IV. Chapter V will provide a summary, conclusions, and recommendations.

24 Figure 1 Academic Achievement of eighth grade Hispanic LEP Students Based on School and Individual Factors

School Factors
*School Climate *Classroom Environment *Quality of LEP Instruction

Individual Factors
*Academic Motivation *Social Goals

Middle School Hispanic LEP

Academic Achievement

25 Chapter II Review of Literature Academic Achievement Surveys across the country shows public dissatisfaction with public school education for Limited English Proficient students, which has led to school reform movements aimed at increasing the rigor in academic areas for LEP students in K-12 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). The report by the National Commission on Excellence in Education 2002, A Nation At Risk, recommended educators to pay special attention in improving educational curriculum programs in order to support the academic achievement of all students including language minority students (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 2002). Academic achievement of students can be linked to school and individual factors that guide policies and practices in schools across the country. School factors examined will be: school climate, classroom environment and the quality of LEP instruction. Individual factors examined will be: intrinsic motivation and social goals. In order to measure the performance of students and schools in relation to these factors, districts across the country are setting content and curriculum standards to meet the needs of all students. Districts are developing curriculum plans that are intellectually challenged, emotionally supportive, respected, and rewarded to achieve with high standards and expectations (Freeman & Freedman, 1998) School districts’ goals are to increase the academic rigor and academic expectations of all students by relying on the implementation of standards-based accountability assessments as well as grade point average (GPA) in evaluating student achievement (Swanson, 2008).

26 Programs should be developed that allows LEP students learning English to continue building the skills needed to be successful academically. Fry (2007) believes that “language learning styles and strategies appear to be among the most important variables influencing performance in a second language.” In a study conducted by Cummins (1996) of Canadian immigrants, immigrant students in public schools across the United States took an estimated 5-7 years to become comparable in grades and achievements exams with students who were nativespeakers. As a result of this study, Collier (1980), Collier and Thomas (1989) researched the amount of time immigrant students were able to achieve academically on standardized achievement exams as compared to English native speakers. The study found that LEP students needed an equivalent of 7-10 years to obtain the same level of academic achievement as native English peers. While learning English, LEP students also need the continuous study of academic subjects, in order to make up for missing academic years (Collier & Thomas, 1989). This increasing influx of Hispanics entering schools in Texas has caused state policy makers to research innovative strategies to improve the academic achievement of LEP Hispanic students (Batalova et al., 2007). At the University of Texas in Austin, an educational agreement was created with Mexico. The purpose of this agreement was to provide a smooth transition for Hispanic LEP students moving from schools in Mexico to Texas schools. The purpose was to improve the academic achievement of Hispanic LEP learners in 9-12 while reducing the dropout rate. (Fry, 2007). The program which began in the fall of 2006 was a compact impacting members of Language Learners at the University’s Center for Hispanic Achievement Program (LUCHA) involved with The University of Texas and the Language Minority Initiative and the Mexican federal education agencies, Colegio de Bachilleres and the National Institute for Adult Education (Education Trust, 2007)

27 The collaboration aligns middle and high school standards with the Texas TEKS, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, while helping Hispanic English language learners in Texas work with online resources from Mexico (Education Trust, 2007). Services for LEP Hispanic students in the program include online courses and transcript analysis availability. Resources and services were available from The University of Texas which guided Hispanic LEP students towards completing their secondary education while preparing for higher education (Education Trust, 2007). This collaboration between The University of Texas and federal education agencies from Mexico ultimately increase the involvement of parents and the community while increasing graduation rates and decreasing Hispanic LEP dropout rates. (Education Trust, 2007). In the United States, the public school system is a continuous process from kindergartencollege years. LEP students enter the school system at different grade levels depending when they arrive into the U.S, causing increasing numbers of minority students failing academically along the way due to low academic achievement (Zuengler & Cole, 2000). The factors that may effect LEP students perceptions of achieving academically is a topic that should be analyzed in the middle years of a student’s educational career and not wait until high school where it may be too late (Ryan, 2001). Effective strategies in public schools is aimed at increasing LEP representation in middle school, high school and beyond while focusing on improvement strategies and policies for skills needed to be successful in college and in the workforce (Smink & Schargel, 2004). This crucial need for educational policies to help LEP students has been an issue in the U.S. for the past decade (Logan, 2004). On September 13, 2006, the U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings created guidelines districts across the country must adhere. These regulations

28 gave local school districts across the U.S. greater flexibility when assessing LEP students while adhering to No Child Left Behind standards and policies (Fry, 2007). “Our schools must be prepared to measure what English language learners know and to teach them effectively, with proven instructional methods,” said Secretary Spellings. “No Child Left Behind has put the needs of English Language Learners front and center and we must continue that momentum of success. These regulations will ensure states and schools are held accountable in helping LEP students learn English by providing instructional flexibility in meeting the academic achievements and goals of every child” (Batalova et al., 2007). In order to determine if LEP students are equivalent to the state standards, districts have developed criterion-referenced assessments aligned to Texas standard curriculum from kindergarten through high school (Logan, 2004). Alignment of Texas standards with state assessments provides districts with accountability criterions that must be met. For instance, in Texas, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) are curriculum standards provided to districts across the state. Expectations of mastery for these standards are measured with the state assessment, Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) (Logan, 2004). TAKS provides the state with a measurable representation of students’ academic achievement levels in comparison to other students’ scores throughout the state of Texas. In other words, by using grade point average and by standardized accountability assessments, school administrators can measure the academic achievement of LEP students while comparing one group’s performance with that of other students throughout the state (Collier, 1989). Researchers such as Batalova et al. (2007) feels standardized reading tests can become a disadvantage to LEP Hispanic students because these tests do not provide truthful

29 qualitative information about students’ reading abilities or a LEP student’s academic strengths and weaknesses. As a result, various forms of assessment was created that measures individual’s readiness for learning new knowledge and skills rather than assessing his or her current knowledge and skills (Schneider & Stevenson, 1999). In order to assess the ability of LEP students, Schneider & Stevenson (1999) propose using a variation of informal and formal assessment measures. In order to measure students’ performance across the nation and state, formal assessment can be used, while informal assessments track data and documentation of LEP students’ continuous progress (Batalova et al., 2007). In middle schools across the state, formal and informal assessments are currently being used to measure LEP students’ academic achievement. Researchers of LEP middle school students’ academic achievement have found two crucial areas of concern: 1) development of academic mastery for preparation of high school (Pianta, et al., 2003) 2) development of personal and social development (Kesner, 2000). According to Pianta (1999), “until more schools adopt a vision that captures the interaction between students’ personal and intellectual development, educators will not have the consensus of conviction and action necessary to improve student learning” (National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board, 2007, p. 14). This type of vision involves rigorous academic standards in various content areas for LEP students in the state of Texas. At the national level school districts are required to include national curriculum standards in content areas such as science, language arts, history, and mathematics (Hayes et al., 2002). These core standards presently guide state and local initiatives in setting curriculum standards (Arseneau & Rodenburg, 1998). Many believe the TEKS, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills are content standards that may be unreasonably complex for

30 LEP students since they are expected to achieve and perform at the same linguistic and cognitive levels as their native-speaking peers (Cejda et al., 2002). But in order to ensure Hispanic LEP students have equal access to challenging academic content and perform as well as their native peer speakers the implementation of effective educational practices of theories, principles, and strategies for a myriad of diverse learners must be established. Since LEP students are held to the accountability and standards as native English-speaking students in Texas, teachers and administrators are continuously developing and modifying standards for LEP students in all districts to adhere to (Reed, et. al., 2005). In classrooms with LEP students or diverse language populations, educational leaders must also ensure that the quality of curriculum standards is aligned with the TEKS (Cohen et al., 2005). A crucial issue in educational policy reform is the dropout rate of LEP Hispanics students compared to the higher academic achievement and graduation rates of Anglos and Asians (Logan, 2004). The essential need involves increasing the academic achievement levels of LEP students while decreasing the dropout rate. Every year millions of young Limited English Proficient students should be high school graduates yet do not graduate but rather dropout of school due to various school and individual factors that affects his or her academic achievement goals (Fry, 2007). Statistics show most of these young people are faced with a lifetime of lower income and limited job opportunities (Fry, 2007). With No Child Left Behind national standards, identifying LEP students in danger of dropping out of school while in middle school and before high school which may be too late (Greene & Winters, 2002). School communities must encourage and provide support for LEP students to continue their educational career. Intervention strategies and effective programs must be created in order to meet their needs (Kaufman & Chapman, 2001).

31 There are many reasons why society should be concerned with the increasing dropout rate of our nation’s LEP Hispanic students. The Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA) have stated that, “for individuals who are dropouts, consequences are reduced earnings and limited employment opportunities” (Education Trust, 2007). The impact on LEP students’ psychological well-being is another factor (Greene & Winters, 2002). For society, men and women without a high school education is an impending burden to the state’s economy. The economic impact of increasing numbers of dropouts is noteworthy, due to an increasing number of unemployed citizens relying on government welfare aide and benefits. Over the next 15 years, predicted changes in the makeup of the labor force indicate that minority populations labeled as Limited English Proficient (LEP) will increase while the percentage of Anglos whose native language is English, will decrease in the labor force (Greene &Winters, 2002). In order to meet national labor needs, the U.S. will need increasing numbers of LEP minority students graduating from high school with literacy skills above average (Hayes et al., 2002). When LEP students are retained one or more years, they are much more likely to drop out of school before graduating (Kaufman & Chapman, 2001). When a LEP student is retained, he/she increase their chances of dropping out of school by 40%-50% (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002). Retention of LEP students is very common for immigrant students entering U.S. schools. When immigrant Hispanic families enter the U.S., their educational level varies depending on how much education they have acquired in their country. As a result, many young LEP Hispanic students are placed in grades because of age rather than their educational level. These students

32 may not be able to achieve at the academic level, which leads to him/her being retained the following year. Grade placement of LEP students can cause anxiety and stress for many LEP students who are neither prepared academically nor emotionally (Smink & Schargel, 2004). Grade placement and retention of LEP Hispanic students may be one reason why LEP students lack academic success throughout the school year (Kaufman & Chapman, 2001). For example, data shows many LEP Hispanic students when enrolling in middle school have already been retained at least one grade level or more while in elementary school. Retention also becomes more prevalent in the upper grade levels due to teachers’ expectations. Teachers in secondary level are focused on a specific content that is more knowledge base (Martin et al., 2002). Retaining middle school students does not progress the academic achievement levels of LEP students and does not compensate for the academic deficiencies of these students when in elementary school (General Accounting Office, 2002). This feeling of embarrassment may also contribute to a negative perception of academic achievement for a LEP Hispanic student and eventually leading to dropping out of school (Smink & Schargel, 2004). Preventing dropout among LEP Hispanic students can also be due to his or her proficiency in English. Prevention programs focused on LEP Hispanic students who drop out of school should require the consideration of the English proficiency levels of these students (Hayes et al., 2002). The academic achievement of LEP Hispanic students can be affected by the transition from elementary to middle school. Middle school years can be a challenging time for many students (Logan, 2004). This is a tumultuous period academically and socially, in which teenagers struggle to form their individual identities with changing hormones, while finding new roles and responsibilities in the school. The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family

33 Statistics (2007) tells policymakers, “every middle grades school should provide a core academic program and expect every student to complete it successfully” (p. 13). Due to accountability standards in K-12 education, middle schools are faced with the challenges of creating “a curriculum grounded in rigorous, public academic standards, relevant to the concerns of adolescents, and based on how students learn best” (Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2007). This study used eighth grade 2008-2009 TAKS Reading scores to measure the academic achievement of limited English proficient students who participated. In addition, a combination of individual and school factors in middle schools was addressed in order to see how LEP Hispanic students’ perception of these factors could contribute to his/her achieving academically in classrooms across the state (Reed et. al., 2005). School Factors The academic achievement of limited English proficient (LEP) students continues to be a national educational concern. In U.S. schools, Hispanic LEP students come across an assortment of challenges while trying to achieve academically. For example, difficulties include the acquisition of language, school climate, classroom environment, quality of LEP instruction, as well as individual motivation, personal social goals or any combination of these factors. In this study, school factors: school climate, classroom environment, and quality of language instruction are defined as elements that may positively or negatively affect the academic achievement of Hispanic limited English proficient eighth grade students. School Climate For this research, school climate is categorized into four areas: safe and orderly environment, opportunities for student participation and leadership, high expectations for

34 students, and student-staff cohesion and support. The goals of education must not focus only on academic learning, but also on social, emotional, and ethical competencies. Safe and Orderly Environments A safe and orderly school is a school community free from the danger of harm for students and staff members and the creation of an organized set of discipline policies and practices effective for the school community (Murphy et al., 1988). A safe school means eliminating negative impacts that may internally affect a school community (Csikszentmihalyi 1997, 50). These negative impacts develop over a period of time accumulating from negative events. According to Collier & Thomas (1989), “violence is the most extreme manifestation of a range of behaviors that run contrary to schools’ expectations and purposes” (28), but when a school community fosters a positive relationship that nurtures growth for students, teachers and administrators and expectations are clearly articulated, and “consistently enforced and fairly applied,” than a safe and orderly environment will exist throughout the school community (Fillmore, 1999). When schools approach school safety with a reactive and positive approach then the climate is proactive and preventive in nature. Hoyle and Adger (1999) believe in order for schools to have a successful safe and secure school climate the program should fit the specific needs of the school. Therefore, strategies on improving middle school climate focus on creating middle school communities to look less like large impersonal high schools, but more caring and nurturing schools that provide students a challenging curriculum while preparing middle school students for high school. At the point when students spent most of their day with one teacher in self-contained elementary school classrooms with a small group of peers but eventually transition to large, often

35 impersonal classes, where they move from one class to another with different teachers and different sets of students. Weaker teacher-student relationships exist due to a school climate with many young adolescents feeling vulnerable in their new schools (Batalova et al., 2007). For example, when teachers continuously deal with repeated offenders, they often have less time to meet individual student needs and deficiencies especially LEP students who may need this individual attention. Marcias & Spencer (1984) studied middle school students and noted that teachers are more concerned with establishing and enforcing rules than helping students make “sensitive, informed choices about what is right and good” (144). In addition, they may have little time to build relationships with parents due to a larger number of students in their classrooms as well as address individual student concerns and needs (Harris & Lowery, 2002). Instead, middle schools should be developing emotional literacy skills such as empathy and respect and a sense of community awareness (Pintrich, 2000; Skehan, 1998; Good & Brophy, 1995). Opportunities for Student Participation School climate also implies intellectual and emotional safety (McNamara, 1996). In 2002, the U.S. General Accounting Office found that Americans have said the single most important purpose of public schooling was preparing young people to become responsible and productive citizens (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002). Parents across the U.S. have consistently responded by saying, “I want my child to be responsible,” “to be a lifelong learner.” Educators have agreed that schools should produce socially responsible, healthy, happy citizens. Students should feel comfortable when saying “I don’t understand” and no one will make him/her feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Students should be able to assume and inquiry and question what they are learning (Siu, 2001). Learning involves inquiry through the use of

36 instructional strategies for all students (Dayton et al., 2004). In addition, classroom routines and procedures should give students an opportunity to express their concerns and ideas. Inquiry learning encompasses an environment in which students have the opportunity to learn through classroom observational issues through in-depth questioning and participation from a variety of viewpoints (Cohen et al., 2005). Due to differences in LEP students’ learning styles and personalities, some students will participate more than others. For example, a reflective student is a student who is often quieter in the classroom but may be developing ideas and questions in his/her mind before speaking; others may be shy students who feel uncomfortable speaking in front of groups due to their lack of language acquisition. Active learners are LEP students who typically think while they speak. They are unafraid of speaking and participating in the classroom setting (Peyton & Adger, 1998). Ultimately, the goal of school communities is to create classrooms that enable students of various learning styles and personalities to be active participates (Harris & Lowery, 2002). In classrooms with LEP students, instruction should involve different techniques in the learning process while keeping student’s interest. LEP students need inquiry learning such as storytelling, to more hands-on activities through collaborative projects in small groups (August & Hakuta, 1997). Active participation involves the evaluation of the effectiveness of learning strategies while students critique activities in the classroom. Active learning strategies serve two purposes: the classroom becomes a vibrant, continually changing environment in which students’ ideas are valued, as well as allowing students to view teachers as being flexible risk-takers (Dayton et al., 2004). When teachers are willing to take risks in creating active participation in the classrooms, this in turn increases the likelihood of LEP students also taking risks and playing a role in their learning.

37 Studies of LEP students confirm that many LEP students need intrinsic motivation in order to feel confident when learning in the classroom (Freeman & Freedman, 1998). In addition, students who are intrinsically motivated will at times still need their teachers to remind them of completing learning assignments and tasks. Many LEP students become introvert and uninterested when active participation is not evident. The goal of active student participation consists of active learners rather than a learner who is passive. In the book Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom, Bonwell and Eison (1991) describe active learning as that which “involves students in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing.” These strategies are crucial when utilizing active learning in the classroom: 1. 2. Students are not only listening but involved and participating (Bonwell & Eison, 1991). More emphasis placed on the development of LEP student’s skills rather than the transmission of information (Bonwell & Eison, 1991). 3. Higher-order thinking skills is the focus (evaluation, synthesis, analysis) (Bonwell & Eison, 1991). 4. Engaging students in hands-on activities- reading, discussing, writing, evaluating, critiquing (Bonwell & Eison, 1991). High Expectations Conveying high expectations to students is crucial in the academic success of LEP students. High expectations consist of characteristics such as: firm guidance, challenges, motivation and incentives for achieving plus loving support not only from teachers but also from the school community (Slavin et al., 1989; Levin, 1988; Dayton et al., 2004). In Among School Children, Kidder (1990) stresses the influence teachers possess in motivating students: For children who are used to thinking of themselves as dumb or not worth

38 talking to, a good teacher can be an inspiration and support to these students. An effective teacher gives a child an opportunity to feel, “She thinks I’m worth something; maybe I am” (p. 3). Building personal relationships between students and teachers is one of the most powerful means of forming high expectations in a classroom. For example, ‘This work is important; I know you can do it; I won’t give up on you’ (Zeichner, 1995). LEP students feel respected by their teachers when their strengths and academic abilities are recognized (McLaughlin et al., 1994; Mehan et al., 1994; Dayton et al., 2004). Teachers who are successful in the classroom portray similar expectations and beliefs. One belief is refusing to label low ability students ‘at risk’; teachers see the potential in each student and share this vision to the student (Ashton-Warner, 1963; Ayers, 1993; Carini, 1982; Curwin, 1992; Heath, 1983; Kohl, 1967; Dayton et al., 2004). In Rutter’s successful schools study, this type of relationship suggest high expectations towards LEP students, helps him/her internalize these positive beliefs as well as develop his/her self-esteem and self-efficacy (Rutter et al., 1979; Dayton et al., 2004). Zeichner (1995) states: “The first element common to effective teachers in urban schools is the belief that all students can be successful learners and the communication of this belief to students” (Jones et al., 2002). Teachers should believe they can make a difference in the lives of LEP students and be personally committed in helping all students be academically successful (Werner, 1990). Werner and Smith (1989) distinguishes between two types of teachers, those who have high expectations and take full responsibility for their students’ learning and the teachers with low expectations who shift responsibility, to factors such as administration, parents, and communities when students fail.

39 Many teachers continue to adhere to the belief that LEP students cannot learn, and so they hold low expectations for them (Jones et al., 2002). Low expectations for student behavior and academic achievement often focus on poor LEP students. For years, research shows that many teachers, who are mostly white and monolingual, tend to view the diversity of LEP students’ as a setback rather than a positive quality that enriches teaching and learning (Batalova et al, 2007). These negative attitudes towards ethnic language groups other than their own manifest into low student expectations, and eventually fragments into a watered-down curriculum for LEP students. (Capps et. al., 2005; Logan, 2004; Hodge, 1990). On the other hand, teachers with high expectations for all students, effectively translate their beliefs into a more demanding academic curriculum (DelliCarpini et. al., 2006; Logan, 2004; Hodge, 1990). Research has shown teachers have self-fulfilling expectations towards their students (Dayton et al., 2004). Therefore, Skehan (1989) advises teachers to “routinely project attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and attributions...that imply that your students share your own enthusiasm for learning. To the extent that ‘you treat your students as if they already are eager learners,’ more than likely, they will become eager learners. Teachers and educational leaders, who have high expectations for students, encourage students to strive for success rather than to become an underachiever. When teachers and educational leaders have low expectations, they are doing a disservice to our LEP students, not a favor (Vernez & Abrahamse, 1996; Jones et al., 2002). Student-Staff Cohesion and Support In order to create positive relationships with LEP students the students need to have emotional and intellectual support from the school community. Building staff and student cohesion and support eventually leads to:

40 1. Students enjoy attending class and have increased interest in class activities (Pianta et al., 2002). 2. 3. Increased levels of students’ academic achievement (Phelan et al., 1992). Less classroom occurrences and disruptions (Martin et al., 2002). Lumsden (1994) also believed that LEP students failure in school stems from feelings of disconnect with peers, teachers and other members in the school community. Lumsden’s theory of “belongingness,” McEvoy & Welker (2000) found that when students felt they are accepted, they felt increased self-confidence and an enhanced sense of worth. On the other hand, if LEP students did not feel accepted by peers, students felt helpless and out of control while at school. In addition, Goodenow (1993) found that children, who felt accepted, also believed in the value of their academic work because they were more motivated and had higher expectations of academic success. Research on high-achieving LEP students show these students will distance themselves from the teacher and the school community but will complete the expected task or assignment in the classroom. Students’ had more positive relationships with teachers when their perception of the school climate was caring as well as concerned for their well-being (Jones et al., 2002). Students who were engaged in the classroom and showed academic progress formed positive relationships with their teachers (Phelen et al., 1992; Lucas et al., 1990; Logan, 2004). For example, positive student-staff cohesion and support is differentiate between high levels of support and low levels of conflict in LEP students’ motivation to explore their social, emotional and cognitive skills. Teachers play a key role in building these skills in LEP students (Jones et al., 2002).

41 In middle school, relationships between LEP students and their teachers becomes a building block of developmental steps towards their perceptions of school, either positively or negatively. These years are often characterized as tumultuous years, where students are experiencing profound shifts in their sense of self while forming relationships with parents, teachers and peers, teachers can provide safe support, guidance and advice to students (Glasser, 1990). Many LEP students perceive these supportive bonds to be less practical because when they were in elementary school, a primary teacher spent most of the day with the student, but in middle school, this is no longer an option (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Not surprisingly, drop outs in middle and high school are due to this lack of student-teacher relationship with LEP students. Teachers’ expectations, behaviors, and beliefs towards LEP students shape this teacherstudent relationship. This is also true with LEP students’ expectations, beliefs, and behaviors about his/her teacher (Velez, 1989). For example, the degree to which students are able to internalize their responsibility in the learning process and how their internal motivation builds competence is dependent upon how he/she perceives the teachers feelings towards him/her. The perceptions students have of relationships teachers build with other students can influence how they relate with the teacher (Rumberger, 2005). In order to meet the academic and social needs of LEP students, the school environment should encourage feelings of support and belongingness (Barber & Olsen, 2004). Whelage and Rutter’s (1989) studied how student isolation and negative response towards school can affect the child’s academic success. Teacher interest was one variable in their analysis of at-risk LEP students. For example, they asked dropout students to rate their opinion of teacher interest in their classroom. On a 4.0 scale, 56% of Hispanics in the class believed their teacher(s) did not portray a caring relationship towards the student (Testerman, 1996). Providing

42 a supportive and caring environment for LEP students who are at-risk of academic failure can optimistically affect students’ beliefs and attitudes towards school as well as increase the possibility of continuing through high school feeling successful academically (Wehlage et al., 1989). Classroom Environment Piaget’s concept of constructivism depicts an ideal learning environment for LEP students. Within Piaget’s theory, the basis of learning is discovery: ‘To understand is to discover, or reconstruct by rediscovery, and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be formed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetition’ (Piaget, 1973). Knowledge is constructed but not directly transmitted (Long, 2000). Over a period of time, individual’s cognitive development constructs knowledge and reality through the process of assimilation and accommodation (Jones et al., 2002). The belief is everyone brings different concepts and ideas to the learning environment. According to Piaget, there are stages the learner goes through, within these stages the learner must decide to accept or reject ideas that are useful or not useful towards their cognitive schema. The process of understanding consists of active involvement and participation (MacIver, 1991). They gain knowledge when learning different ideas and concepts through active participation. This form of involvement is the framework of constructivism. Through constructivism, learning is an active process that involves discovering errors and seeking solutions to these errors through collaboration and interaction (Weinstein et al., 1991). LEP students should have the freedom to construct understanding and meaning through personal experiences at their own pace (Slavin & Madden, 1989). Since many LEP students have limited experiences, they need teachers to provide active instruction that is relevant and

43 engaging. In a social classroom setting, students manipulate resources and materials, as a result, a community of learners is created and knowledge formed together within the school community (Smith & Lincoln, 1988). Classrooms should actively involve students and present challenges that constantly offer opportunities for learning and discovery. As active learners and thinkers, LEP students can make sense of the curriculum and instruction by being inquisitive and asking questions (Strommen & Lincoln, 1992). With teacher support, the development of critical insight begins with depth and detail of how they think and know about their world (Strommen & Lincoln, 1992). Possibly the most important role for teachers teaching LEP students is to provide a learning environment in which students can experience voluntary and natural inquiries. Authentic opportunities to challenge LEP students in the classroom should is an integral part of a constructivist classroom (Davis & Mason, 1989). The constructivist theory accepts the idea that the acquisition of knowledge is not only essential but also involves the process by which the student acquires knowledge. Laura M. Martin states in the book, Learning in Children: Organization and Development of Cooperative Actions, (1991) “Children become aware of the substantive content of objects if they attend to the principles of construction of the features. That is, through interacting with and manipulating objects, subjects come to know the principles that organize the object’s properties.” She goes on to state, “The stages of activity leading to cognitive learning actions have these components: educational tasks which children come to accept as tasks and which then provide goals to motivate their activity; educational acts which are designed to help the children performing them move between general and concrete understandings; and, acts of control and evaluation, which

44 help children grasp the task and reflect on whether their actions are on track” (Rubtsov & Jaroszewska-Hall, 1991). In learning situations, the construction of theories or hypothesis begins with placing cognitive memories into relationships. By constantly placing existing learned cognitive memories into new relationships, LEP students construct explanations of these meaningful experiences (Kami et al., 1994). This process is an integration of new information or experiences into a student’s perception of the world through personal interaction with people and the physical world (MacIver & Reuman, 1994). In other words, when LEP students use existing knowledge in relating with new phenomena, cognitive schemes are constructed mentally through the assimilation of new experiences or information (Confrey, 1990). For example, learning occurs when a conflict between the introduction of new knowledge is not consistent with previously existing schemata. Through reflection the learner’s depiction of new knowledge with existing knowledge involves the construction and transformation of this newly acquired information (Kuperminc, et. al., 1997). Constructivist Guiding Principles: 1. The process of learning is active. The construction of learning involves sensory input through the construction of meaning. Learning is not passive but involves the learner engaging with the world (MacIver & Reuman, 1994). 2. Learning is the constructing systems of meaning. Each meaning individuals construct is based on prior knowledge (Byrnes, 1996). Classrooms should be engaging the minds of students as well as providing hands-on active learning, (Arseneau & Rodenburg, 1998). 3. Learning is related to language: the influence of learning involves language. For example, while learning a new concept, people talk to themselves. Vigotsky believed that learning

45 and language are inextricably entwined (Newman & Holzman, 1993; Arseneau & Rodenburg, 1998). 4. Learning is a social activity: in order to learn, human beings needs to feel connected to each other. For example students need to feel connected to their family, teachers and peers. The social aspect of constructivism entails interaction, social and conversational engagement with others, while the continuous process of learning involves the application of knowledge through these social interactions (Kamii & Manning, 1991; Benaim, 1995). 5. Learning is contextual: meaningful learning is not the knowledge of isolated facts rather is connected to life experiences; students learn in relationship to what they believe, know, as well as, our fears and insecurities. Learning is social and active within an accumulation of experiences and ideas (Davis & Mason, 1989). 6. In order to learn, knowledge is needed: new knowledge is built upon the accumulation of existing knowledge. The more the learner knows, the more the learner is able to learn. Therefore, there must be connection between the learner and classroom instruction. (Kuchemann, 1981; Leont’ev, 1981). 7. Learning takes time: learning is not an instant process. Meaningful learning reverts to previous ideas, experiment and question. Reflection of is the product of repeated thoughts and experiences, especially when long periods of preparation create moments of profound insight (Crawford, 1991). 8. The key component of learning is motivation. Motivation is essential in the process of constructive learning (Johnson et al., 1996).

46 Quality of Academic Instruction One crucial factor of LEP students’ lack of academic success is mastering language acquisition. The process of learning academic language and acquiring the necessary skills to be academically successful involves a greater amount of time than the time needed to learn a language for the purpose of social interaction (Papert, 1993). In a child’s social language acquisition the development of BICS (basic interpersonal conversational skills) requires at least two years upon arrival in an English-speaking classrooms; however, learning academic content language, CALP (cognitive academic language proficiency) requires at least five to eight years, or longer. The mastery of CALP is dependent upon two factors: (1) the age of the student when entering English speaking schools and (2) prior educational background of the student (Collier, 1989). If a LEP Hispanic student who is a new arrival to the country is enrolling in middle school, the curriculum involves higher cognitive levels; the acquisition of language content becomes more difficult as a result of considerable gaps in their prior education (Berman, 1997). According to Zeichner (1995), learning is the construction of concepts based on existing knowledge which becomes a social process. Quality LEP instruction involves the analysis of information, construction of hypotheses, and decision making, through the integration of new experiences into a LEP student’s existing mental constructs (Cobb et al., 1991). Research on language acquisition consists of the development of these two forms BICS (basic interpersonal conversational skills) and CALP (cognitive academic language proficiency). According to Cummins (1996), the 1st type of language, BICS English is the use of language in conversations. The mastery of BICS English is a 2 to 3 years progression. With BICS English, conversation cognitive development forms through creating meaning from previous experiences and interactions. Since BICS English progresses in a shorter period of time and is simpler to

47 master, in the classroom, BICS acquisition should support learner independence by encouraging students to discover the many uses of conversational language. Moreover, to master BICS acquisition, curriculum planning should be the accumulation of prior knowledge spiralled into organized concepts and constructs. Through spiraling, the development of the 2nd type of language acquisition CALP English can be developed and mastered. CALP develops within 5 to 7 years for LEP students. But to fully master CALP, it will take LEP students 10 years to be at equivalent cognitive levels as native English speaking peers. Unlike BICS learning, CALP learning is a longer cognitive development process. In order for LEP students to fully master CALP English, Collier (1987; 1989) suggests educational leaders provide quality English instruction in the classrooms. In order for LEP students to be successful academically, CALP English must be mastered. It is the responsibility of school communities to emphasize the importance of constructing new knowledge through CALP, combined with prior learning from BICS matched against new acquisition of information, with a willingness to learn (Mehan et al., 1994). Contentbased curriculum gives LEP students age-appropriate content knowledge that develops CALP and prepares LEP students for mainstream classrooms. In addition, this type of instruction renders itself towards meaningful and relevant events while providing LEP learners opportunities to create new knowledge from previous experiences (McLaughlin et al., 1994). This theory offers students the independence to accept or reject new information dependent upon their existing schemata (Hanna, 1998). ersonal involvement and learning autonomy is encouraged, placing emphasis on the learning process and not teaching process. For quality instruction to be successful, LEP students must have an intrinsic motivation to learn and the desire to achieve. Learning fosters the individual’s attitudes, beliefs, and natural

48 curiosity to gain knowledge of new concepts (Haynes, 1998). Kilpatrick states, “Learning is contextual: we do not learn isolated facts and theories in some abstract ethereal land of the mind separate from the rest of our lives: we learn in relationship to what else we know, what we believe, our prejudices and our fears. On reflection, it becomes clear that this point is actually a corollary of the idea that learning is active and social. We cannot divorce our learning from our lives,” (Kilpatrick, 1987). Mastery of CALP English involves opportunities for independent thinking, as well as encourages LEP students to be accountable and responsible in their personal learning development. Beyond simple factual information, instruction should frame questions in order for students to analyze and examine. Connections are established between ideas; students begin to predict, justify, and defend their ideas (Lave & Wenger, 1991). When the learning has personal meaning, CALP language acquisition begins to develop and eventually learning for LEP students is successful because students can demonstrate conceptual understanding (Slavin et al., 1989). These principles are the basis of language acquisition for quality LEP instruction (Pianta et al., 2003). 1. LEP students’ readiness to learn must include exposure to instruction that relates to prior experiences. 2. Instruction should be spiralled, including prior learning, to be easily understood by LEP learners. 3. Instruction should motivate LEP students in going beyond the information given towards independent learning.

49 Individual Factors Individual factors: Intrinsic motivation and social goals can also affect the academic achievement of Hispanic LEP students. Motivation to Achieve Motivation is a key factor in human learning. We learn best when we are highly motivated to learn (Biggs, 1992). Academic gaps in eighth grade LEP Hispanic students may be contributed to a lack of motivation regarding school. The value of motivation within an individual is the key to all learning. Theorists believe intrinsic motivation is described as motivation to connect with behaviors and activities that maintain or enhance an individual’s selfconcept. McNamara (1996) defined intrinsic motivation as actions individuals take without external influences affecting their decisions. For example, when money and incentive rewards are not contributing factors to a student’s motivation to achieve but due to enjoyment and personal interest and satisfaction (Biggs, 1992). One of the biggest obstacles faced by LEP students is the lack of motivation. Behavioral issues as well as failure in academic achievement leading to dropping out often are associated to lack of motivation. Lumsden states that, “academic achievement is more a product of appropriate placement of priorities and responsible behavior than it is of intelligence” (Lumsden, 1994). Unlike unmotivated individuals who have lack of inner-drive and inspiration, motivated individuals are energized and will perform and complete a task. Interest, curiosity, or desires to achieve are the key factors that compose motivated people (Baratz-Snowden et al., 1988). Students who are highly motivated can out-perform intelligent students, due to their intrinsic motivation to be academically successful. Deci and Ryan (1985) state that “to be motivated

50 means to be moved to do something.” When a student is intrinsically motivated, they feel involved, challenged, and gratified with the immediate task (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Human nature proves that all humans possess curiosity and are active agents (Smink & Schargel, 2004). Intrinsic motivation occurs when the learning environment and the activity bring forth motivation in LEP students. It takes into account expectancy of the outcome as well as the incentive value of success (Kupermine et al., 2001). For example, when the student feels responsibility and control over the learning situation, the student will do what is necessary to be academically successful. When students take ownership in their learning, co-operative learning can result. Learning in the classroom becomes goal structured and provides group cohesiveness. For example, students build motivational autonomy and self determination when tutoring and mentoring other classmates (Brophy, 1985; Dörnyei, 1997). How do LEP students who possess high intrinsic motivation differ from those who possess low intrinsic motivation? Researchers believe differences are not related to selfishness, nor willing to cooperate with others, nor disobedience (Amabile et al, 1994). Instead, differences occur when LEP students behave and react differently when faced with a situation. For example, when high intrinsic motivational students are given a task or assignment but not promised an external reward or punishment, these students will continue to complete the task, whereas intrinsically low motivational students will not complete the task. .Low motivational students think ahead with anticipation for rewards or consequences for task incompletion (Glasser, 1990). These students need to see the gains and losses due to the task assigned. On the other hand, high intrinsically motivated students feel personal satisfaction in task completion. Students with high intrinsic motivation are proactive because they strive and search for opportunities and personal stimulus without rewards or incentives, whereas students with low

51 intrinsic motivation are passive or uninterested unless there are incentives involved (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Another result of intrinsic motivation is when a student is passionate about the task at hand. For example, a LEP student who is passionate about passing the TAKS Math exam with commended performance will be motivated to work harder as result of his/her passion. The motivation comes from within the student, the more the student uses his/her own efforts to achieve the more motivated the student becomes. In middle school, teacher-student relationship becomes more impersonal due to larger classrooms and larger class sizes due to the enrollment of more students. Although students are looking for autonomy, the need for personal support of adults other than their parents are crucial to LEP students’ intrinsic motivation (Glasser, 1990). Such changes may contribute to the decline in intrinsic motivation. With the transition into middle school the educational focus shifts from the process of learning to an evaluation of students’ outcomes. Students are graded and evaluated in terms of their relative performance on assignments and exams and becomes social in the class. Ryan (2001) believes the implications of these changes within the LEP student leads students to focus on their ability, rather than on the learning the process. Ryan argues that these changes, in turn, have a negative impact on LEP students’ motivation to learn (Ryan, 2001). In classrooms, teachers often try to motivate students with rewards and incentives to achieve a goal, however most of the time this creates short term results rather than long-term results. Many students have no real interest in achieving the goal. In the long term, intrinsic motivation is more effective because it means that the student has a real interest in doing something he/she likes (Ryan, 2001). For example, a LEP student is motivated by the grade they will earn from a test, however he/she has no real interest in learning the subject matter. Once the

52 student has achieved the expected grade, the student becomes uninterested in learning more about the topic (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997). Intrinsic motivation describes a LEP student who is genuinely interested in further study of the topic because he/she values the learning experience. To create intrinsic motivation in LEP students, teachers must create lessons that are engaging, as well as give explanations to students why the lesson will benefit him/her and how it will improve their life (Moneta & Wong, 2001). In other words, in order for LEP students to perceive a topic useful and interesting, teachers need to create engaging lessons that are interactive and learner-centered. Intrinsic motivation is an inner drive to succeed, thus it is difficult to create this inner drive unless the student has real interest for the lesson from within (Salili, 1994). LEP students who are passionate and energetic when solving a problem on their own demonstrates intrinsic factors that contribute to high intrinsic motivation characteristics. Moreover, providing opportunities for LEP students to analyze, evaluate and investigate can help LEP students become motivated due to the individual’s internal efforts (Jackson, 1989). Many of the approaches that empower and engage students can lead to increased intrinsic motivation. The focus is the strategies that teachers in school communities can use to develop and maintain motivation in LEP students. 1. 2. 3. Initiate thought and behavior (Smink et al., 2004) To make meaning from experiences (Siu, 2001) In order to be meaningful to the learner, goals and rewards are identified (McClelland, 1985) 4. 5. Stress to students that learning is important (Salili, 1994) Valued accomplishments are internal to the learner (Lepper & Hodell, 1989)

53 6. Promoting self-awareness when the learner and his/her environment are integrated (Hoy et al., 2002) Social Goals To Belong: To have a proper, appropriate, or suitable place. To be naturally associated with something. To fit into a group naturally. -Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary Maslow (1962) emphasized that the need of belonging has to be satisfied before other needs can be fulfilled. Students who continue to struggle to meet this deficiency will eventually feel exhausted and unwilling to achieve higher connotative levels and cognitive functions (Berman, 1997). If LEP students feel they do not belong, can LEP students succeed in a school in? In middle school, most LEP students fail not because they lack the required cognitive proficiency skill, but many LEP students feel a sense of isolation, alienation, and detachment from their peers, teachers and from the educational process. Building relationships among middle school LEP students’ begins with building their intrinsic motivation. Feeling a sense of belonging to a school community as well as perceptions of their friends’ academic values can significantly alter an individual’s intrinsic motivation towards expectations for success and self-determination (Dellicarpini & Gulla, 2006). Conventional classrooms of the past fail to promote a sense of belonging, especially among LEP students (Kagan, 1990). When students feel alienated and rejected they have a higher risk of delinquent behaviors such as joining gangs, using drugs and ultimately dropping out of school. A sense of belonging can be enhanced in school communities by emphasizing the importance of students building relationships with others through active involvement. The relationships students build with peers can impact their relationships with teachers; for example,

54 the degree to which their peer group relate to teachers’ expectations and the academic rigor in classrooms is expected to influence the quality of the individual’s relationship with his/her teachers (Harris & Lowrey, 2002). A positive school climate consists of a classroom environment that develops LEP students’ individual’s judgment of himself/herself and their relationships with others. LEP students need to feel a they belong in the school community through active involvement, which in turn strengthens relationships with teachers and peers (Cummins, 1996). Making good grades is one of the goals for LEP Hispanic middle school students, but making friends is also important. A new chapter in a student’s life begins when he/she enters middle school. Middle school commences a new episode in a student’s life, moving from childhood into adolescence (Freeman & Freedman, 1998). Students spend more time with their peers than they do with anyone else (Carnegie Council, 1995; Schneider & Stevenson, 1999). Peers help shape many students’ values and actions, including their perceptions of school. Day to day decisions are based on peer influence, how students’ think and behave is shaped by their friends (Cotton, 1996; Berman, 1997). When LEP students who are potential dropouts feel a sense of school belonging, this will potentially influence active participation, engagement, and participation which will diminish their negative opinions of school. LEP students’ beliefs about their friends’ academic values and social values are related to these outcomes. Peer influence also support LEP student’s self worth and esteem while also providing a sense of belonging and importance (Benaim, 1995). Kesner (2000) state the older the student, their level of motivation and engagement becomes more dependent upon peer groups, parents, teachers, and other adults.

55 As students enter middle school, the need to fit in is crucial to success in school, discovering their identity during adolescence means questioning the authority of adults, while looking to friends and the media in how to behave. LEP students want to be noticed and accepted by their fellow students (Johnson & Johnson, 1996). As a result, they are more likely to make wise choices when they have a positive self esteem. The need for peer acceptance is one factor in a LEP students’ positive or negative influence pertaining to academics (McEvoy & Welker, 2000). If a LEP student wants to be part of a group that perceives school as negative, more than likely the LEP student will feel the same. But if the LEP students’ social circle perceive being academically successful in school, the LEP student will also want to achieve academically. The influence of peers can be negative or positive dependent upon peer influences. Peers either discourage or encourage each another from actively or inactively participate in school activities (Mac Iver & Reuman, 1994). Peer acceptance often is one factor in the student’s choice about whether to use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs due to the fact they want to be accepted by their peers and friends. Choosing the group of friends can also influence LEP students’ academic motivation, sometimes negatively (Johnson & Johnson, 1996). If their peers are uninterested in achieving academically, more than likely the student will feel the same in order to fit in with the group. Another example, if a student wants to be part of a group that is drug free, odds are they also choose to be drug free. But if the student wants to be part of a group that uses alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, they may experiment in order to fit in with that group. The rejection of others can either cause LEP students to internalize this rejection causing them to dislike themselves or externalize the rejection and have negative feelings towards others. In East of Eden (1952), John Steinbeck described the story of the human soul:

56 The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell of fears. I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with crime, guilt—and there is the story of mankind. (p. 270). The breakdown of extended families, the increase in the number of single parents, in addition to the number of hours parents who are working are not at home, and the growing mobilization and transience of LEP students have left students feeling disconnected. Harris and Lowery (2002) noted that when LEP students are not accepted in mainstream classrooms, due to academic failure, they search for their own sense of identity and belongingness. These students tend to be antisocial. The feeling of belongingness in a school community and classroom is essential in the success of each LEP student’s socialization and learning experience (Freiberg, 1998). Socialization is a process that originates at home and continues in the school community (McEvoy & Welker, 2000). Family members help students acquire a sense of self and value, their actions, communication skills, and how to relate to the environment around them. When school and home cultures are aligned, the process is continuous. But when there is a disparity between school and home cultures, the process can be perplexing to the student (Freeman & Freedman, 1998). At home, the socialization of students involves thinking and behaving from family members but at school, students’ interaction with teachers and other peers helps LEP students to think critically about ideas and experiences (Pintrich, 2000). Peer influence can determine whether a student moves successfully into a larger setting such as middle school and be a fully

57 participating member or become withdrawn and isolate themselves from family, society, and learning. For many LEP students, the first contact with the culture of society outside of the home is teachers. Many immigrant students encounter a drastic cultural shock between the culture of the school community and their personal cultural understandings (Harris & Lowery, 2002). For example, in the Hispanic culture, families value unity rather than individual self. The needs of the family such as maintaining support are more important than the needs of the individual (Gandara, 1999). But, when many Hispanic children attend American schools, they come upon a different culture that emphasizes individual needs rather than the group needs. For LEP students from working class and immigrant families, peers usually play a crucial role in shaping individual academic performance than peers in more advantaged conditions. This is because parents of immigrant students lack the educational background or easy access to the institutional knowledge needed to help immigrant students succeed in middle and high school and prepare for college (McEvoy & Welker, 2000). On the other hand, peers can provide important social networks in the school community. Thus, LEP students soon discover that school culture socialization takes precedence over the home culture. For example, schools do not accept excuses for school absence such as caring for younger siblings or participate in religious functions (Cummins, 1996). LEP students learn that in school, they are rewarded for working independently and showing academic progress, which is seen as individual accomplishments and endeavors, although there may be personal issues at home. Hispanic students also learn that in order to be socially and academically successful, LEP students soon realize when they are non-English speakers, learning the language as quickly as possible is crucial (Kubitschek & Hallinan, 1998). In order to have access to the social or

58 academic world of school communities LEP students have to learn to socialize and master the dominant language spoken. LEP Hispanic students tend to select their closest friends from their own ethnic group. As a result, their opportunities to socialize with peers from other ethnic groups are generally limited. Even when they are in middle and high school with more diverse students, LEP Hispanic students tend to socialize with students like themselves (Kaufman et al., 2001). Many Hispanic LEP students feel uncomfortable speaking out in front of middle class of White peers or seeking for help in order not to feel “dumb” or “inferior.” Or they choose to attend a less challenging class in order to be among friends similar to themselves. Eventually, many Hispanic LEP students refrain from participating in the social life of the school community, or in extracurricular activities, in order not to feel that they do not fit in or not to be rejected from their peer (Greene & Winters, 2002). The socialization process of the school community should not be stressful for neither LEP students nor their parents. Although there are significant differences between the school culture and home culture, administrators and teachers should understand how distressing assimilation into the school community can be for LEP students (Logan, 2004). School communities should respect LEP students’ home languages and cultures, as well as help LEP students make a successful transition from home and to school. For LEP students, opportunities to interact are critical for learning. Vygotsky (1962, 1988, 1978) states that social interactions between LEP learners are the building blocks to language acquisition (Martin et al., 2002). Interaction and socialization plays an important role in language and overall student development. Interaction gives learners an opportunity to create language output, forcing LEP students to manipulate components of the new language (Logan,

59 2004). Interaction allows LEP students to share in the construction of classroom knowledge (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk-Hoy, 1998) and to develop membership within groups (McEvoy & Welker, 2000). When students interact with peers and teachers, they create the opportunity to express through language as well as providing LEP learners with increased chances for comprehension of the target language (Peterson & Skiba, 2001), as well as practice higher levels of academic communicative skills (Pintrich, 2000). Eventually, they gain access to academic content with the mastery of communication and social strategies (Vernez & Abrahamse, 1996). School communities must create safe spaces and a feeling of belongingness for LEP Hispanic students. A supportive school environment will provide opportunities for students of diverse ethnic backgrounds to interact with each other. The ability for LEP Hispanic students to be comfortable and socialize with others different from themselves will eventually lead to greater engagement in learning and long term social and academic success (Vernez & Abrahamse, 1996).

60 Chapter III Research Methodology Introduction From rural areas of Texas to suburbs in highly populated urban cities, there are Limited English Proficient (LEP) Hispanic students in classrooms across the state. Administrators and teachers face new challenges as changing demographics have Texas educators and leaders finding new ways to implement federal and state policies concerning ESL (English as Second Language) education (Harris & Lowery, 2002). Enrollment of LEP students in public schools ranges from kindergarten to twelfth grade, but the transition of middle school (seventh and eighth grade) students presents a multitude of challenges for educators who must serve their needs (Lumsden, 1994). The purpose of this study was to identify school and individual factors that were perceived by eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient middle school students as positively influencing his/her academic achievement. Determining which school and individual factors were identified as having positive impacts on his or her academic achievement may impact future policy decisions of local and state school boards related to services to LEP students in middle school. These policy decisions will ultimately influence program decisions in an attempt to use the information to maximize the learning outcomes of all Hispanic students. The following research questions guided the study: Quantitative Questions 1. Is there a significant relationship between the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of a positive school climate?

61 2. Is there a significant relationship between of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of a positive classroom environment? 3. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of academic instruction? 4. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the students’ motivation to achieve? 5. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the students’ social goals? 6. What is the relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 20082009 Reading TAKS score and the combined responses to their perceptions of the importance of: a. b. c. d. e. 7. school climate classroom environment quality of academic instruction motivation to achieve individual social goals

Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and students’ educational aspirations?

62 Null Hypotheses H01: There is no statistically significant relationship between the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of a positive school climate. H02: There is no statistically significant relationship between of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of a positive classroom environment. H03: There is no statistically significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of the quality of academic instruction. H04: There is no statistically significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the students’ motivation to achieve. H05: There is no statistically significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the students’ social goals. H06: There is no statistically significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the combined responses to their perceptions of the importance of: school climate a. b. c. d. classroom environment quality of academic instruction motivation to achieve individual social goals

63 H07: There is no statistically significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and students’ educational aspirations. Research Design Both qualitative and quantitative approaches were used in this investigation. To validate themes and relationships between the school and individual factors that may contribute to or hinder the academic achievement of eighth grade Hispanic LEP students, it was best to use qualitative research. Qualitative research provided information on school and individual factors that eighth grade LEP Hispanics felt affected his or her academic success. Quantitative Part I, II, III, IV questionnaire was conducted. The questionnaire focused on the academic achievement of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students. Part I consisted of “General Information.” These questions were personal information such as age, gender, grade level, native language, parental level of education, and socioeconomic status. Part II “School Information,” measured the students’ perceptions of the school importance, classroom environment, and quality of instruction. Part III “Social Expectations,” measured students’ perceptions of academic motivation and social motivation. Parts II and IIII questions utilized a 5-point Likert response format, ranging from extremely important to not at all important. The section of the questionnaire, Part IV, was a single question asking the student his/her educational aspiration. Subjects of the Study Purposive sampling was used. Purposive sampling was based on knowledge of a population and the specific purpose of the research (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2006). Subjects of the study were eighth Hispanic students classified as Limited English Proficient (LEP). The schools selected for this study were located in a large urban school district area. This large urban school

64 district in Texas has a high enrollment population of Hispanic students. In addition, because of the increasing population of LEP Hispanic students in this particular district, the researcher has chosen five of the eight middle schools in the district. The school district selected had an average student enrollment of more than 65,000 students with an increasing population rate of LEP students each year. For this study, the school buildings selected were classified as middle schools with 7th and eighth grade LEP students enrolled at the schools. Instrumentation Five middle school buildings with varying academic achievement levels of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students participated in the study. Data was gathered from a sample group that consisted of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students who have been attending public schools for three years or more. Student information was obtained for 149 eighth grade LEP Hispanic students within the district who were eligible to participate in the study. All participants were required to have: a) parent’s/guardian’s permission to participate, and b) 2008-2009 TAKS Reading scores obtained from participating schools. Most of the participating limited English proficient Hispanic students were from Mexico, as well as from Central and South American countries. Permission to collect data was obtained from Prairie View A&M University Institutional Review Board prior to obtaining data from the six middle schools. In addition, permission for conducting research and collecting data in the district was granted by the superintendent who then put the researcher in contact with the middle schools used in the study. The completed IRB application was submitted to Prairie View A&M University Institutional Review Board for approval for the research project prior to contacting the representatives in each middle school. An introductory letter requesting an appointment to

65 discuss the research project was sent to the middle schools recommended by the district’s superintendent. The proposed research study was summarized and questions answered, as well as district guidelines and procedures were discussed. An introductory letter was sent to the principals in the respective buildings. This letter secured their cooperation in the research project. In addition, a follow-up call was made to the principals requesting a face-to-face meeting for the purpose of explaining, clarifying and discussing procedures for gathering the research data. A roster of LEP Hispanic eighth grade students was also obtained from each middle school for the survey. In order to guarantee confidentiality, there was only one copy of the roster, and the researcher was the only person who had access to the list. The researcher visited each middle school in the investigation, and met with prospective Hispanic students. The meetings consisted of a discussion of the study with answers and questions from the students and the request for participation from the students. When the students agreed to participate, parental permission letters were sent home with the students. Letters explained the purpose of the investigation and the student’s role in the study. Survey packets containing a cover letter explained the purpose of the study, a number coded system was used for the survey sections. The researcher utilized a survey obtained from a dissertation investigation conducted in 1998. The title of the dissertation is “Factors Contributing to the Academic Achievement of Hispanic Limited English Proficient High School Students” written by Ana Maria Mistral, PhD. The questionnaire on the Academic Achievement of eighth grade Hispanic LEP students consisted of 52 items divided into four major sections. Part I “General Information,” consisted

66 of items assessing the participant’s student identification number, gender, age, parental level of education, and socioeconomic status (eligibility for free or reduced lunch). Part II of the questionnaire, “Your School and Classes,” consisted of questions #6-31 measuring the participant’s perceptions of the importance of school climate, classroom environment, and language instruction. Part III of the questionnaire, “You and Your Friends,” consisted of questions #32-51 measuring the participant’s perception of their motivation for attending school and their social motivation. All items in Part II and Part III of the questionnaire employed a 5-point Likert-type response format with responses ranging from “extremely important” to “not at all important.” The fourth section of the questionnaire consisted of a single item that assessed the participant’s educational aspiration. Five response options were provided, ranging from “less than high school graduation” to “college graduation.” The two-part essay question consisted of a hypothetical question that described a student’s friend who did not speak English and was coming to the United States to study in the same school as his or her friend. The first part of the question asked the respondent to tell his or her friend about: a) their school, b) what he or she had to do to be academically successful, c) and describe the quality of classroom instruction. The second part of the question asked the respondent to describe to their friend: a) why the respondent likes or dislikes the school, b) describe their friends in school. These surveys were distributed to each student by the researcher. The number codes were used to identify the participants and the district. Confidentiality of names and identification numbers of all students participating in the study was of utmost priority. After completion of

67 students’ survey, the researcher requested the demographic data and 2008/2009 TAKS Reading scores of participating students from the schools. Student data was also coded to differentiate the school and student. In addition, the results of the study were reported to the students and parents in a summary report. Validity and Reliability The validity of the research results derived from this study was dependent upon the researcher’s accuracy to depict the meaning of the participant’s questionnaire responses. This study was intended to determine school and individual factors as perceived by eighth LEP Hispanic students that may affect his or her academic achievement. The results which emerged from data analysis were tested for plausibility and conformability. Participants’ questionnaires and results were privately examined by the researcher in order to secure credibility, transferability, and dependability of the procedures and findings. Data Analysis Procedure All data from the questionnaire was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15 in order to quantitatively analyze the relationships stated in the research questions. The SPSS reliability subroutine was used to calculate the value of Cronbach’s alpha for each of the five scales represented in questions 1 through 5. Scale scores were calculated for respondents for each of these scales. Each scale score was regarded as an interval scale variable. Academic achievement, as measured from 2008/2009 Reading Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores, was also an interval scale variable. Accordingly, the first five research questions were addressed using Pearson’s correlation between Reading TAKS score and each of the five scale scores. These correlations were evaluated with two-tailed tests at a .05 level of significance.

68 Research question five involved the multivariate relationship between 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and the five student perception scales. This research question used a multiple regression analysis in which the dependent variable is 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and five predictors were the five scale scores. An overall test for the significance of the entire regression was conducted, as well analyzing the significance of unique contributions of each individual predictor. Each of these tests was conducted at the .05 level. Research question six utilized Pearson correlations, Spearman correlations, and independent sample t tests. Pearson correlation was used to find the relationship between student background i.e. age of participant (interval scale measure), and the five scale scores. Paternal and maternal educational level (ordinal scale) utilized the Spearman correlations test. Finally, gender and free/reduced lunch (dichotomy) utilized the independent sample t test. The qualitative section of the study consisted of the two-part essay section. Participants were given a hypothetical situation that described a student’s perceptions when faced with a particular situation in the school setting. The student wrote an essay or short answer for each question. For example, a student was given a scenario: describe your school-the student will write his/her perception a) the school likes/dislikes b) what he/she do to be academically successful c) opinions on classroom instruction d) opinions of friends in school. The investigator followed the three steps proposed by Miles and Huberman (1994): a) summarizing and packaging the data b) repackaging and aggregating the data c) explanatory framework involving the development and testing of propositions (p. 92). The two-part essay was analyzed after aggregating the data. The investigator identified themes and trends in the overall data. Findings of the two-part question analysis were presented in the form of narrative explanations, tables and figures.

69 Summary The purpose of this study was to identify school and individual factors that were perceived by eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient middle school students as positively influencing his/her academic achievement. Determining which school and individual factors were positive impacts on his or her academic achievement may impact future policy decisions of local and state school boards related to services to LEP students in middle school. These policy decisions will ultimately influence program decisions in an attempt to use the information to maximize the learning outcomes of all Hispanic students. The results of this study will also be useful to educational leaders. The goal of this chapter was to describe the research methodologies utilized in the study. A thorough analysis of all research data collected was presented in Chapter IV. Chapter V presented conclusions, implications and recommendations for future studies.

70 Chapter IV Analysis Of Data Introduction In eighth grade, Hispanic limited English proficient students are faced with many issues affecting his/her academic achievement. The purpose of this study was designed to identify school factors as well as individual factors that are perceived by eighth grade Hispanic Limited English proficient students as positively affecting his or her academic achievement. The research determined if relationships exists between the students’ academic achievement as measured by Reading TAKS scores of 2008-2009, and the importance of students’ individual choices and perceptions of school climate, classroom environment, quality of academic instruction, his or her motivation to achieve, individual social goals while in school. Participants There were a total of five middle schools participating in the study. Each middle school had from 60 to 80 Eighth Grade Limited English proficient students enrolled in the schools. A total of 149 eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient students were eligible to participate from all five middle schools. Table 1 shows the number of students representing each middle school. The sample consisted of 149 eighth grade English proficient students (n=149). There was a total of 81 male participants (54%) and 68 female participants (46%). The students ranged in age from 13 through 16 years, with a mean of 15.9 years (SD= 2.0 years). More than 64% of the students qualified for free or reduced price school lunches. Table 2 presents the frequency distributions of student demographic and background variables. In regards to the fathers’ educational level, the overall majority of participants’ father completed secondary level of education (25%). A similar pattern was observed with the overall majority of participants’

71 mother educational level at 20%. As indicated in Table 2, there was considerable variability to these survey items. Table 1. Numbers of Eligible and Available Participants from Each Campus That Completed the Survey Campus Students w/ Parent Completed Percentage a Consent Survey ____________________________________________________________________________ Middle School #1 78 49 30 38% Middle School #2 Middle School #3 Middle School #4 Middle School #5 63 86 73 76 37 42 51 61 29 30 30 30 46% 35% 41% 39% Eligible Students

a Percentage of students eligible to participate

72 Table 2. Demographic and Background Characteristics of Students Who Completed the Study (N=149) Value Demographic Variable N %

Gender Male Female Free/Reduced Lunch Yes No Father’s Educational Background Some Elementary Finish Elementary Some Secondary Finish Secondary Some College Finish College Mother’s Educational Background Some Elementary Finish Elementary Some Secondary Finish Secondary Some College Finish College

81 68

54% 46%

96 53

64% 36%

25 34 35 37 5 13

17% 23% 23% 25% 3% 9%

28 25 31 30 13 22

19% 17% 21% 20% 9% 15%

73 Results Statistical analyses of quantitative data were conducted using SPSS 15.0. A 52 item questionnaire developed by Ana Mistral’s 1998 survey on high school LEP students were used to collect data from the eligible students whose parents had given permission. The response scale was a 5-point Likert scale which was coded as numerical values for each item response on the instruments: Extremely Important=5; Very Important=4; Important=3; Somewhat Important=2; Not At All Important=1. The difference among the variables described in the null hypotheses was analyzed using Pearson r Correlation coefficient. In all cases, if the p value for any of the correlation coefficients were significance at the p< .05 confidence level, the null hypothesis was rejected. The results have been organized into various sections that correspond to the variables investigated and their relation to student academic achievement. These sections are: (a) analysis of students’ academic achievement and school factors, (b) analysis of student academic achievement and individual factors, (c) and relationship between academic achievement and students’ aspirations. Relationship Between Student Academic Achievement and School Factors Three research questions from which the research hypotheses were derived addressed the relationship between student academic achievement and each of these three school factors selected for the study: school climate, classroom environment, and the quality of academic instruction. Eighth grade perceptions of an ideal school climate were survey question items 6 through 19. The calculated Pearson correlation coefficient measuring the relationship between School Climate and Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores for 2008-2009 was .194 with a p value of .018 (less than the criterion value of p < .05). Therefore, the Null Hypothesis was rejected. It

74 could be concluded therefore that there was a statistically significant relationship between academic achievement as measured by Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores and the value students placed on the importance of School Climate. This supports the previous findings that school climate and academic success are related (Cejda et al., 2002).
The School Climate subscale of the survey (questions 6 through 19) sought information from respondents regarding the following factors related to the participants’ perceptions of school climate:

1. 2. 3.

the quantity and quality of interactions between students and adults the perception of students’ towards the school environment, or the personality of the school physical buildings and classrooms as well as materials used in instruction are environmental factors

4. 5. 6.

academic performance of students students’ perception of school size and school safety feelings of respect and trust for teachers and peers The student’s responses to perceptions of school climate were multi-dimensional and

influenced his/her academic achievement.

Question items 20 through 27 related to participants’ perceptions of positive classroom environment. The calculated Pearson correlation coefficient measuring the relationship between Positive Classroom Environment and Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores for 2008-2009 was .188 with a p value of .022 (less than the criterion value of p< .05). Therefore, the Null Hypothesis was rejected. It could be concluded that there was a statistically significant relationship between academic achievement as measured by Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores and the value students placed on the importance of Positive Classroom Environment. This relationship possibly exists due to factors identified in question items 20 through 27 as

75 influencing the participants’ perception of a positive classroom environment (Wortham et al., 2002). 1. 2. 3. The teacher is sensitive to individual differences. The teacher learns students’ names. The teacher makes sure that the classroom is set up in a way that is conducive to a positive climate. 4. 5. 6. The teacher tells students what her/his expectations are the first day of class. The teacher comes before and stays after class to talk to students. The teacher creates a safe environment for student participation. Since the quantitative analysis of the data on school factors rendered significant correlations with positive school climate and positive classroom environment, the addition of the analysis of responses to the two-part essay question also provided important data. The supplementary data addressed the perceived importance of positive classroom environment and positive school climate and the perceptions of these factors as a connection with academic achievement. In Table 4, 57% (n=86) of participants had an overall positive opinion of the school they were currently attending. Students expressed feelings of being valued, accepted and secure in an environment of caring teachers and administrators. Students felt their schools helped to build connections where students felt capable and are given opportunities for success. Students expressed overwhelmingly their beliefs in the importance of education for their future, and how personal goals were accomplished through school.

76 Table 3. Correlation Results Between the Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and School and Individual Factors Correlations Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS ScorePerception of Ideal School Climate Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS ScorePerception of Ideal Classroom Environment Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS ScorePerception of Importance of Academic Instruction Pearson Correlation 0.194 Significance (2-tailed at 0.05 Level) *0.018

0.188

*0.022

0.035

0.673

Academic Achievement 0.226 **0.006 as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS ScorePerception of Individual Motivation to Achieve ____________________________________________________________________________ *Indicates Statistically Significant at the p <.05 level **Indicates Statistically Significant at the p < .01 level

77 Continuation Table 3. Correlation Results Between the Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and School and Individual Factors ____________________________________________________________________________ Correlations Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS ScorePerception of Individual Social Goals Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS ScorePerception of Combined Responses Pearson Correlation 0.037 Significance (2-tailed at 0.05 Level) 0.65

0.298

**.000

*Indicates Statistically Significant at the p <.05 level **Indicates Statistically Significant at the p < .01 level

78 Table 4. Response to the Two Part Essay -Student Perception of School Factors ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Variables Code Student Perception Total Respondents n % Overall Positive Opinion of School SC1 Climate exists where all students feel comfortable, wanted, valued, accepted, and secure in an environment where they can interact with caring people they trust Thoughtfully building support system for students and helping the student feel more connected to the school and community The school develops connections and find ways for the student to be seen as capable The school provides opportunities for success around the school. The student might be involved in assisting in the office, helping the teacher, assisting with snack time School has High Expectations for Students SC2 Students feel in order to be academically successful; students have to study, complete assignments, pay attention to the teacher, have good attendance, and follow the advice of teachers and other students 149 64 42 149 86 57

School is a Safe Place

There are no problems such as fights or aggressive students who want to instigate fights and confrontations in the school There are students who abuse the good students. In the school, there are no drugs and cigarettes in the school

149

54

36

79 Table 4 also shows 42% (n=64) of participants felt their schools expressed high expectations for the students. Students felt in order to be academically successful, students were expected to study, complete assignments, pay attention, attend school regularly, as well as follow advice of the teachers. Students placed great emphasis on attendance, effort, and compliance with the code of conduct from the school and district. In addition, 36% (n=54) of participants felt their school was a safe place. Students felt fights, and abuse from other students including the use of drugs and cigarettes was not an issue in the school. Students placed great emphasis on following school rules and regulations and perceived expectations of the school and teachers. They repeatedly referred to studying, paying attention to teachers, and respecting others in the school. In Table 5, 84% (n=125) of participants had an overall positive opinion of their teachers. Students felt teachers established routines and created an environment of taking risks in order to be successful. Teachers ensured students were held responsible for their learning through a positive attitude and high self-esteem. The teachers helped inspired the students and spent quality time listening to students and most importantly showing the students they cared for their well-being. On the contrary, Table 5 provided evidence that 36% (n=54) of the participants had a negative opinion of their teachers. Some students felt their teachers did not understand the barriers they were trying to overcome. Students also believed the teachers were not accepting of their cultures and did not make an effort to build quality relationships with their students. In addition, students felt teachers wasted time in the classroom consequently making the students feel unsuccessful and frustrated in the classrooms. A few stated the teachers were insensitive to

80 students’ needs, they felt isolated and unmotivated, and they had fewer academic opportunities compared to other students on campus. Questions #28-31 pertained to questions relating to participants’ perceptions of the Quality of Academic Instruction in the classroom. The calculated Pearson correlation coefficient measuring this relationship between Quality of Academic Instruction and Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores for 2008-2009 was .035 with a p value of .673 (greater than the criterion value of p < .05). Therefore, the Null Hypothesis was not rejected. It cannot be concluded that the importance students attributed to the quality of academic instruction in the classroom was related to their academic achievement. Although there was not a significant relationship between students’ perceptions of the quality of academic instruction as affecting their academic achievement, the analysis of responses to the two-part essay question provided significant data relevant to students’ perceptions of teachers and academic instruction. In Table 5, 58% (n=87) of participants had an overall positive opinion of the academic programs offered at their schools. Students believed teachers ensured students knew classroom expectations and planned lessons that were meaningful and connected with their personal experiences. Students were given opportunities to demonstrate, model and describe activities and lessons. Students were encouraged to be proactive in their learning. On the contrary, 15% (n=23) felt an overall negative opinion of academic programs at their schools. These students felt teacher’s classrooms were boring and uninviting. Students felt they were not successful in the teacher’s classrooms, due to boredom, confusion and insecurity.

81 Table 5. Response to the Two Part Essay -Student Perception of Teachers and Academic Instruction __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ % Variables Code Student Perception Total Respondents n Overall Positive Opinion of Teachers T1 Establish in the classroom predicable routines and organizations to provide a safe environment for students to be able to take the necessary learning risks’ Focused teaching ensures that the teacher is able to help the students achieve selected learning outcomes and develop independent learning skills. Students gain the necessary feeling of success that leads to positive attitudes and self-esteem Teachers inspire trust because they care for the students and give good advice Teachers are friendly and listen to the problems of students When students need help the teachers are there to help after/before school and/or during lunch. Overall Negative Opinion of Teachers T2 Some teachers do not understand the student Some teachers feel the language difference is a barrier for the student-students become frustrated Some teachers do not accept others’ cultures and do not try to help the student Some teachers do not know how to explain in order for the students to understand the concept being taught In many classrooms students are never sure of what is going to happen and thus end up by wasting a lot of their own and others time 149 54 36 149 125 84

82 In summary, the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data rendered important information on the perceived importance of school factors and their relationship to academic achievement in eighth grade LEP Hispanic students. Overall, participants shared a positive opinion of school climate and its importance to their academic achievement, the importance of student behaviors as affecting academic achievement, and the importance of teacher-student relationship in the success of student academic achievement. Relationship Between Student Academic Achievement and Individual Factors Two research questions related to the relationships between students’ academic achievement and the two individual factors selected for the study: motivation to achieve and individual social goals. Participants’ perceptions of the individual’s motivation to achieve accounted for questions # 32-42. In Table 3 the calculated Pearson correlation coefficient measuring the relationship between Individual Motivation and Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores for 2008-2009 was .226 with a p value of .006 (less than the criterion value of p < .05). Therefore, the Null Hypothesis was rejected. It could be concluded that there was a statistically significant relationship between academic achievement as measured by Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores and the value students placed on the importance of Individual Motivation. Due to the significance of this relationship, the conclusion exists that students who were more involved in setting his/her educational goals were more likely to reach their goals. It could be perceived that when students identified the central focus of learning was to achieve external rewards, such as an exam grade, they often performed unsuccessfully, believed they were less competent, and reported greater anxiety than when they believed that exams were basically a method in monitoring their own learning skills.

83 In Table 6, the two-part essay question provided significant correlations addressing the perceived relationship between student academic achievement and motivation, and between academic achievement and personal social goals of the students. One of the questions asked to students was why they liked or disliked going to school. In their responses, students explained their motivation to go to school was due to family and social reasons, personal goals, and to achieve and learn. 48% of students (n=72) expressed their willingness to fulfill their parental expectations of their parents as well as become role models for other family members such as younger siblings. A more immediate and intrinsic motivation for 60% of students (n=89) was to attend school for personal pleasure and satisfaction of learning new, interesting, and useful things. 45% of students (n=67) enjoyed coming to school to meet new friends, joined activities, clubs and sports, and to interact socially with other students. Overall these students felt a sense of power and control over their successes at the school. For example, they were allowed to be a part of the decision making process in school policies and procedures. Students wanted to come to school and felt in control when dealing with pressure and stress. The most popular reason students attended school 64% (n=95) was to pursue personal academic goals. Students felt there were people on their campuses that were worthy role models and these role models helped students to feel confident in their academic success. Students’ values and beliefs were guided by the role models towards building confidence. Students felt school will help students obtain a good job as well as making their loved ones proud. Students expressed a high regard for the respect they would earn as an accomplished person in the working community. Questions #43-50 were relevant with participants’ individual social goals in school. The calculated Pearson correlation coefficient measuring the relationship between Individual Social

84 Goals and Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores for 2008-2009 was .037 with a p value of .650 (greater than the criterion value of p < .05). Therefore, the Null Hypothesis was not rejected. The results showed there was not a significant relationship between Individual Social Goals and Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores for 2008-2009. It cannot be concluded that the importance participants attributed to individual social goals was related to their academic achievement. Although the quantitative analysis of the data on individual social goals did not render correlations with student academic achievement, Table 7 shows students’ view towards their peers and friends at school. 53% (n=79) of students chose friends who had characteristics or talents the student admired, which in turn motivated the student to achieve and act like their friends. Students chose friends they can trust, as well as friends who encouraged them to study and help them think creatively. Students also chose friends who liked school, achieve academically by making good grades, and are more likely to graduate from high school. Overall, students felt choosing friends who had high motivation to achieve was important for the student to also achieve. Other students 38% (n=25) thought that peer pressure had a bad influence on their academic achievement. Students realized hanging out with friends who were negative; caused negative behaviors in themselves towards school. Another group 76% (n=51) of students felt they were not influenced positively or negatively by their peers, rather self determination and persistence motivated the students to be academically successful. Students’ self determination helped guide their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards education. Students’ self determination gave them a sense of accomplishment, a sense of independence and a sense of having control over their personal life decisions. In summary, participants stated they were motivated to achieve due to their beliefs in the value of education. This belief was connected to family and friends influences. Most participants

85 agreed on the important influence peers have on their academic success even though it may be positive or negative influence. This perceived awareness created among the participating students generated various levels of self determination dependent upon the student’s perceptions of a variety of social influences that can affect academic achievement. In conclusion, most students felt a connection between education and success. This connection can give them opportunities for a better job leading to higher economic and social status in the community.

86 Table 6. Response to the Two Part Essay -Student Perception of Reasons to Attend School
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Variables Family Expectations

Code SR1

Student Perception Student feels a sense of consecutiveness to the family Connected to a heritage They belong to someone; something belongs to them Their connections are held in high esteem They are important to others; related to others, part of something

Total Respondents 149

n 72

% 48

Personal Goals

PG1

Student feel a sense of uniqueness Know there is something special about themselves Know and do things that no one else can do Know others think them special Express themselves in their own way Use imagination and expand creativity Respect themselves; enjoy being different

149

89

60

87 Continuation Table 6. Response to the Two Part Essay -Student Perception of Reasons to Attend School
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Variables Social Reasons

Code SR1

Student Perception Student feel a sense of power To participate in school activities and have fun They can do the things they set out to do They have the resources necessary to carry out their own purposes They are allowed to make or influence decisions about things that are important to them They know how to make decisions and solve problems They can be in control of themselves when dealing with pressure and stress They can use the skills they’ve learned They can cope with failure

Total Respondents 149

n 67

% 45

88 Table 7. Response to the Two Part Essay -Student Perception of Peers and Their Influence on Student Achievement

Variables Peers Are Positive Influence

Code PP1

Student Perception Student chooses friends who have characteristics or talents that they admire, which motivates them to achieve and act as their friends act Friends encourage student to study hard at school and can also them think more creatively High-achieving peers have positive effects on adolescents’ satisfaction with school, educational expectations, report-card grades, and standardized achievement test scores

Total Respondents 149

n 79

% 53

Student have friends who believe completing high school is important Students have friends who like school, get good grades, and are interested in school; the student is more likely to graduate high school Having friends who believe that academic achievement is important is beneficial for the student

89 Continuation Table 7. Response to the Two Part Essay -Student Perception of Peers and Their Influence on Student Achievement ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Variables Peers are Negative Influences Code PP1 Student Perception Student feels that when you join a clique you are easy to be influenced by others and this means that peer pressure causes them to do things that they wouldn’t normally do When student hangs out with a group of friends that are always starting trouble and they are always trying to argue with people and pick on them. They think that its funny and they don’t come to school for the education, they come to bother people and disrupt other people’s learning environments. They don’t even do their class work/homework. They like to copy other people Student realized that once they started hanging around each other, they started to do negative things Student was influenced by their peers and they can’t even make decisions by themselves They act alike and they do the same things everyday Peer pressure causes students to leave their own friends and start forming a negative friendship with students who will be negative Total Respondents 149 n 57 % 38

90 One research question addressed the relationship between Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores for 2008-2009 and the combined responses of all School and Individual Factors selected for this study: School Climate, Classroom Environment, Quality of Academic Instruction, Motivation to Achieve and Individual Social Goals. The calculated Pearson correlation coefficient for the combined responses was r=.298 with a p value of .000 (less than the criterion value of p < .05). Therefore, the Null Hypothesis was rejected. On the basis of the correlation, it can be concluded that there was a significant relationship between the academic achievement of the participants as measured by Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores for 2008-2009 and the importance students placed on combined responses of school and individual factors. Relationship Between Student Academic Achievement and Students’ Aspirations In Table 8, one single survey question was used to assess students’ perceptions of the highest level of education they are likely to achieve in their lifetime. The response options for this question included five ordered categories, ranging from less than high school graduation to college graduation. The Pearson correlation coefficient measuring the relationship between Eighth Grade Reading TAKS scores for 2008-2009 and Responses to Individual Perceptions of the Highest Level of Education they are likely to achieve in their lifetime was .023 with a p value of .018. Therefore, the Null Hypothesis was rejected. There was a statistically significant relationship between the student’s academic achievement and his or her perception of their beliefs of future educational achievement.

91 Table 8. Correlation Results Between the Academic Achievement as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and Perception of Future Educational Achievement ______________________________________________________________________________ Correlations Pearson Correlation Significance (2-tailed at 0.05 Level)

Academic Achievement 0.023 *0.018 as Measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS ScorePerception of Future Educational Achievement ____________________________________________________________________________ *Indicates Statistically Significant at the p <.05 level **Indicates Statistically Significant at the p < .01 level

Summary of Findings The quantitative analyses of the data obtained from the survey questionnaire and the twopart essay question were used to investigate the research questions in this study. These analyses produced important findings. 1. There was a statistically significant correlation (.018) found between the perceived importance of school climate and academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students. 2. There was a statistically significant correlation (.022) found between the perceived importance of classroom environment and academic achievement as measured by 20082009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students. 3. 57% (n=86) of participants perceived school climate as very important to their academic achievement. The elements of school climate rated by participants were: the quality and
number of interactions between students and adults, students’ perception of their school

92
environment and the personality of the school as well as environmental factors (such as the physical classrooms and building, and resources and materials used for instruction), student’s academic performance, student’s feelings of how safe they feel due to the school size and feelings of respect and trust for peers and teachers.

4.

Participants, 42% (n=64) rated high the importance of teachers expressing high expectations for students. The elements of high expectations were: students were expected to study, complete assignments, pay attention, attend school regularly and follow the advice of the teachers.

5.

36% (n=54) of the participants perceived their schools to be a safe place. Students placed great emphasis on following school rules and regulations.

6.

84% (n=125) of participants rated very high an overall positive opinion of their teachers. Teachers inspired students to be responsible, have a positive attitude and high self-esteem.

7.

On the contrary, 36% (n=54) of participants wrote about feelings of alienation and negative perception of teachers. These feelings were prompted by teacher’s inability to communicate to with the students and they felt a feeling of rejection due to feelings of lack of acceptance and fewer academic opportunities as compared to other students on campus.

8.

No statistically significant correlation (p< .05) was found between perceived quality of academic instruction and student academic achievement.

9.

58% (n=87) rated highly an overall positive opinion of academic programs offered at their schools. Lessons were meaningful and connected with their personal experiences. On the contrary, 15% (n=23) felt an overall negative opinion of academic programs. Students felt teacher’s classrooms were boring and uninviting. They felt bored and confused.

10.

All participants identified behaviors associated with academic achievement that shared their school’s expectations. These behaviors were: to pay attention in class, complete

93
assignments, attend school daily, respect teachers and peers and comply with school regulations.

11.

There was a statistically significant correlation (.006) found between the perceived importance of motivation to achieve and academic achievement as measured by 20082009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students.

12.

60% (n=89) of participants based their motivation to attend school on their belief that education was necessary for success in life. Motivation to achieve in participants was personal pleasure and satisfaction of learning new, interesting, and useful things.

13.

48% (n=72) of participants expressed their willingness to fulfill their parent’s expectations as well as become role models for siblings.

14.

Majority of participants 64% (n=95) attend school to pursue personal academic goals. Role models in the school community helped guide students’ values and beliefs by establishing a personal belief in being a respected member in society.

15.

There was a statistically significant correlation (.650) found between the perceived importance of individual social goals and academic achievement as measured by 20082009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students.

16.

53% (n=79) of participants regarded peers and friends as very influential in their lives and decisions. Participants chose friends who had similar characteristics students admire, which in turn motivates students to achieve. School friends were a support group that helped them be good students, gave them advice, and demonstrated unconditional loyalty.

17.

76% (n=51) of participants felt self determination helped guide their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards education. Self determination gave participants a sense of accomplishment, sense of independence and a sense of control over their personal life decisions.

94 18. 38% (n=25) viewed academic conflict due to peer pressure. Students viewed friends who were negative in turn, influenced their own negative behaviors. 19. There was a statistically significant correlation (.018) found between student’s academic achievement and his or her perception of their views of future educational achievement.

95 Chapter V Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations This chapter presents the summary of findings regarding both the quantitative and qualitative portions of the study. The conclusions and recommendations are based from the results of the study. The purpose of this investigation was to study school and individual factors that eighth grade limited English proficient Hispanic students perceived as important to their academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and the existence of a possible relation between this perceived importance and student academic achievement. The school factors selected for this investigation were school climate, classroom or learning environment, and the quality of academic instruction. The individual factors addressed by this study were motivation to achieve and individual social goals. The following research questions were addressed: 1. Is there a significant relationship between the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of a positive school climate? 2. Is there a significant relationship between of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of a positive classroom environment? 3. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and their perceptions of the importance of academic instruction?

96 4. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the students’ motivation to achieve? 5. Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and the students’ social goals? 6. What is the relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 20082009 Reading TAKS score and the combined responses to their perceptions of the importance of: a. b. c. d. e. 7. school climate classroom environment quality of academic instruction motivation to achieve individual social goals

Is there a significant relationship of the student’s academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score and students’ educational aspirations? The participants in the study were 149 eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient

students enrolled in five middle schools in an urban district over the 2008-2009 school year. There was a total of 81 male participants (54%) and 68 female participants (46%). The students ranged in age from 13 through 16 years, with a mean of 15.9 years (SD= 2.0 years). All participants were enrolled in ESL (English as Second Language) reading classrooms within their respective middle schools within one large urban school district. All participants in the study had been enrolled in public schools for at least three years or more, students were classified as (LEP) limited English proficient students required to take the 2008-2009 Reading TAKS exams.

97 A questionnaire and an essay question consisting of two parts was the instrument designed for this investigation and the students’ records were used for data collection. The questionnaire included five scales, each of which consisted of several items that addressed the same variable. The student questionnaire responses rendered data that were analyzed quantitatively to ascertain the student-perceived importance of each variable and a possible relation between variables and student academic achievement. The questionnaire also contained questions that referred to their future educational aspirations. The second instrument, the two-part essay question, consisted of an open-ended question that required students to express and write their opinions rather than select an answer from options given. This open-ended design facilitated a multiplicity of responses that included other factors that students considered significant. In addition, students’ responses comprised participants’ perceptions of whether these noteworthy factors were present in their school and relate to student academic achievement. In addition to the questionnaire and the two-part essay question, participants’ school information was used to collect data about students’ English proficiency level, number of years enrolled in public schools, socioeconomic status, and the 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores. Responses from the questionnaire were analyzed in terms of questionnaire reliability and item consistency. This analysis rendered positive results that point to the stability of the questionnaire items and consistency of the five questionnaire scales. Quantitative analysis of the SPSS 15.0 version computer software was used in the investigation. Pearson correlations were computed to determine a possible relation between the level of the school and individual factors’ perceived important and if these factors rendered statistically significant relationship between perceived importance of the variables and student academic achievement. Participants were able

98 to express freely their opinions to the two-part essay question which provided participants an opportunity to elaborate on factors that were important for their academic attainment and how their academic achievement might not be possible due to the absence of important school or individual factors. Conclusions The analysis and interpretations of the data generated major findings that addressed the research questions in this study. These are discussed under headings that correspond to the variables selected for this investigation. Research Question No. 1 To answer research question one, one null hypotheses was tested to determine whether a significant difference existed between eighth grade Hispanic LEP students’ academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and students’ perceptions of the importance of a positive school climate. Pearson correlation statistical test was applied to examine the data. The calculated Pearson coefficient was .194 with a p value of .018 (less than the criteria value of p < .05). Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. There was a statistically significant correlation found between the perceived importance of school climate and academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students. In addition, the two-part essay rendered significant trends. 57% (n=86) of participants perceived school climate as very important to their academic achievement. All students expressed great importance in a positive school environment including those students who did not pass with 70% or higher on the 2008-2009 Reading TAKS exam. School climate affects many areas within a school community (Torres, 2003). Perceptions of a supportive and culturally responsive school climate can have a positive affect in

99 shaping the degree of academic success in limited English proficient students. Students engaged in a supportive learning environment that promotes interpersonal relationships have fewer behavioral and emotional problems such as antisocial and maladaptive behavior (Torres, 2003). The elements of school climate rated by participants in the survey were: the quality and number
of interactions between students and adults, students’ perception of their school environment as well as the personality of the school and environmental factors (such as the classrooms and physical buildings and resources and materials used for instruction), student’s academic performance, student’s feeling safe due to school size and feelings of respect and trust towards peers and teachers.

Regarding the roles of administrators and teachers, Painta, Stuhlman and Hamre (2002) found that limited English proficient students’ perspectives are significant during transition from one grade level to the next. Having a supportive and encouraging environment from teachers and administrators can make this transition not as frightening to LEP students. This is especially important for eighth grade Hispanic LEP students transitioning to high school years. Furthermore, participants, 42% (n=64) rated high the importance of teachers expressing high expectations for students. Teacher expectations play a crucial role in determining the process involved in learning and how much students learn (Dayton et al., 2004; Berman, 1997). Students have a tendency to internalize their teachers’ personal beliefs about their academic ability. Normally, they “rise or fall to the level of expectation of their teachers. When teachers believe in students, students believe in themselves. When those you respect think you can, YOU think you can” (Barber & Olsen, 2004). On the other hand, when students such as classified LEP students are viewed by teachers as deficient in motivation and ability as well as not expected to progress significantly, students are likely to believe this perception of themselves. Unfortunately, LEP students perceive their teachers consider them “incapable of handling demanding work” (Cejda et al., 2002). Teachers’

100 high expectations or low expectations for students can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, LEP students have a tendency to perform for their teachers as little or as much as teachers expect of them (Dayton et al., 2004).
The elements of high expectations were: students were expected to study, complete assignments, pay attention, attend school regularly and follow the advice of the teachers. 36% (n=54) of the participants perceived their schools to be a safe place. Students placed great emphasis on following school rules and regulations. 84% (n=125) of participants rated very high an overall positive opinion of their teachers. Teachers inspired students to be responsible, have a positive attitude and high self-esteem. On the contrary, 36% (n=54) of participants wrote about feelings of alienation and negative perception of teachers. These feelings were prompted by the teacher’s inability to communicate to with the students thus students felt a feeling of rejection due to feelings of lack of acceptance and fewer academic opportunities as compared to other students on campus.

Research Question No. 2 To answer research question two, one null hypothesis was tested to determine whether a significant difference existed between eighth grade Hispanic LEP students’ academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and students’ perceptions of the importance of a positive classroom environment. Pearson correlation statistical test was applied to examine the data. The calculated Pearson coefficient was .188 with a p value of .022 (less than the criteria value of p < .05). Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. There was a statistically significant correlation found between the perceived importance of a positive classroom environment and academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students.
Ortiz (2004) notes, “the interaction in the classroom can create a fabric of support that enables all members of the classroom environment to teach and learn at optimum levels” (p.45). All

101
participants identified certain behaviors associated with academic achievement that shared classroom expectations with student academic success. These behaviors were: to pay attention in class, complete assignments, attend school daily, respect teachers and peers and comply with school regulations. These behaviors conducive for learning can have a major effect on the achievement and behavior of students.

Studies indicate that LEP students learn best in student-centered classrooms where they are actively engaged not only with the subject matter but also interacting with others in the classrooms, including the teacher (Logan, 2004). Students in the two-part essay believed a positive classroom environment had teachers who were sensitive to LEP students’ individual differences. Effective teaching was responsive to the individual needs of each student (Kuh, 2003). Classrooms that understood and recognized that each student had individual needs will in turn make the student feel more comfortable in the class as well as help guide the student in becoming more responsive to the learning process (Harris and Lowery, 2002). According to Kuh (2003), quality classrooms involves the sensitivity to differences in individuals towards favored styles of learning by varying the amount, nature, rate, and content instruction. LEP students are much more inclined to actively participate in learning environment when they believe their teacher has cautiously considered their individual needs (Jones et al., 2002). In addition, clearly and consistently communicating teachers’ expectations for student success will help guide LEP student behavior. Effective communication between teacher and student can encourage participation that reinforces appropriate behavior both verbally and nonverbally (Greene & Winters, 2002).

102 Research Question No. 3 To answer research question three, one null hypotheses was tested to determine whether a significant difference existed between eighth grade Hispanic LEP students’ academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and students’ perceptions of the importance of academic instruction. Pearson correlation statistical test was applied to examine the data. The calculated Pearson coefficient was .035 with a p value of .673 (greater than the criteria value of p < .05). Therefore, the null hypothesis was not rejected. There was not a statistically significant correlation found between the perceived importance of academic instruction and academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students. Although the quantitative analysis did not render a significant relationship, the two-part essay provided significant trends in LEP students’ perceptions of academic instruction. 58% (n=87) of students rated highly an overall positive opinion of academic
programs offered at their schools. Lessons were meaningful and connected with their personal experiences. On the contrary, 15% (n=23) felt an overall negative opinion of academic programs. Students felt teachers’ classrooms were boring and uninviting. They felt bored and confused. In order for schools to eliminate this perception of boredom in the classroom, research identifies the following factors as crucial in active learning (McEvoy & Welker, 2000).
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Students are able to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information. Students are able to effectively communicate with others. Students are capable of collaboratively working in culturally diverse settings. Students are encouraged to be responsible decision makers who are self-motivated. Students are encouraged to be ethical individuals who are committed to their families, communities, and colleagues.

103 In schools with quality active learning, students are encouraged to effectively balance the social and academic aspects of school, expect to succeed, goal oriented, and intrinsically motivated to achieve (Harris & Lowery, 2002). If LEP students believe education is meaningful to their academic success, research shows it is strongly linked to employment with higher salaries (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). Furthermore, students who are successful academically have greater opportunities for employment than students who are uneducated. The success of students in school means the difference between being employed in a job “because it pays the rent and bills” and working at a job that one enjoys (Reed et al., 2005, p. 15). Research Question No. 4 To answer research question four, one null hypotheses was tested to determine whether a significant difference existed between eighth grade Hispanic LEP students’ academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and students’ perceptions of the importance of the students’ motivation to achieve. Pearson correlation statistical test was applied to examine the data. The calculated Pearson coefficient was .226 with a p value of .006 (less than the criteria value of p < .05). Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. There was a statistically significant correlation found between the perceived importance of the students’ motivation to achieve and academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students. In addition to the quantitative analysis, student responses to the two-part essay were also significant to the findings. For example, 60% (n=89) of participants based their motivation to attend school on their belief that education was necessary for success in life. Motivation to achieve in participants was personal pleasure and satisfaction of learning new, interesting, and useful things (Cejda et al., 2002). Students

104 expressed that a school culture should be a place that students are motivated naturally where academic motivation to learn and success is respected, rewarded, and expected. Motivation to achieve has been identified as a very important factor to achieve work excellence and career success for LEP students, a climate where students learn to enjoy learning, particularly as it progresses into academic achievement (Dayton et al., 2004). Creating learning opportunities in an environment that can likely to evoke positive feelings and learning enthusiasm through constant encouragement and caring, and steer away from being overly critical is crucial to the success of LEP students (Fraenkel and Wallen, 2006). Feelings of achievements will definitely lead to increase motivation. On the contrary, when educators are not sensitive to the individual needs of LEP students, this will lead to frustration, sadness, anger and de-motivation of LEP students who have to struggle which diminishes their chance of academic success (Greene & Winters, 2002). Motivation to achieve is often correlated with actual achievement behavior (Harris and Lowery, 2002). Motivation to achieve is evident in behavior that the student values. For example, a child may be highly motivated to achieve, and this may be exhibited in athletics but not in schoolwork. different situations have different achievement attaining values for children (Jones et al, 2002; Harter and Connell, 1984). LEP students’ behavior to achieve depends not only on their motivation to achieve but on whether they expect to achieve and whether they fear failure (Kaufman and Chapman, 2001). Students are more likely to work hard when they perceive a reasonable chance to succeed rather than when they perceive a goal to be out of reach (Kuh, 2001; Aitchison, 1994). For example, in the classroom LEP can be challenged in various ways. Expectations as well as motivation of the students can be reflected upon their prediction of the grades they have earned in classes, problem

105 solving issues in school, and challenge themselves by selecting with confidence the hardest task from a selection of difficult tasks to accomplish (Kuperminc et al., 2001). In the two-part essay, the majority of participants 64% (n=95) expressed they were attending school to pursue personal academic goals. Role models in the school community helped guide students’ values and beliefs thus, establishing personal belief in being a respected member in society. LEP students with high expectation for success on a task usually continue at the task longer and perform better than a student with low expectations (McEvoy & Welker, 2000). In addition, many participants expressed having teachers that are supportive, provided feedback, and an overall concernabout the learning process rather than student performance. The student tended to be motivated to achieve and to expect success (Ortiz, 2004). Students also felt parent expectations were also important in their motivation to achieve. 48% (n=72) of participants expressed their willingness to fulfill their parent’s expectations as well as become role models for siblings. Research Question No. 5 To answer research question five, one null hypotheses was tested to determine whether a significant difference existed between eighth grade Hispanic LEP students’ academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and students’ perceptions of the importance of students’ social goals. Pearson correlation statistical test was applied to examine the data. The calculated Pearson coefficient was .037 with a p value of .650 (greater than the criteria value of p < .05). Therefore, the null hypothesis was not rejected. There was not a statistically significant correlation found between the perceived importance of students’ social goals and academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students.

106 With respect to the participants’ social goals and their relation to academic achievement, the quantitative analysis of the data did not render a statistically significant relation between the motivation of the participants’ friends and the participants’ academic achievement. However, participants agreed on how influential friends and peers were in their lives in the essay portion. 53% (n=79) of participants regarded peers and friends as very influential in their lives and decisions. Participants chose friends who had similar characteristics students admire, which in turn motivates students to achieve. School friends were a support group that helped them be good students, gave them advice, and demonstrated unconditional loyalty. A positive powerful influence can be the development of peer relationships. Behavior and sanctions of friends are among the strongest predictors of misconduct in limited English proficient students (Pintrich, 2000). Across a variety of cultural settings, students tend to be friends with those who are most like them. In fact, socio-demographic characteristics are usually the strongest predictors of friendship formation (Ryan, 2000). Different types of peer groups have unique capacities to encourage negative or positive behaviors in their members. Most LEP students discuss choices with their friends before making a decision about what to do in certain situations (Pianta et al., 2003). Participants seemed to report friends can discourage or encourage alcohol and drug use, delinquent behavior, and other forms of antisocial behavior; they also felt their peers encouraged more than discouraged studying before exams. On the contrary, some participants in the survey displayed anti-conformity behavior, rejecting the judgment of their peers, and making decisions on their own without friends’ opinions. Creating friendships in school instead of feeling pressure from peers inherently limit the effectiveness and use of coercion because students’ friendships are based on mutual respect and equality.

107 Consequentially, decisions are made through negotiation, instead of domination from peers (Ryan, 2000). In other cases, negative influences from friends hinder students’ academic attainment and personal goals. 38% (n=25) viewed academic conflict due to peer pressure. Students viewed friends who were negative in turn, influenced their own negative behaviors. Participants seemed to be always guarding themselves from the temptation that their friends represented, such as smoking, drinking, and/or skipping class. But when students have supportive relationships with other peers, students develop positive characteristics related to school and academic success, while coercive and conflictual relationships confer disadvantages such as having a negative attitude towards school (Siu, 2001). Researchers found high-risk behaviors included: smoking cigarettes, alcohol use, marijuana use, and engagement in illicit sexual behavior (Pintrich, 2000). Furthermore, students associated with “defiantly ordered” cliques are more likely to drop out of high school (Reed et al., 2005). Another group of participants expressed the importance of self-determination in enhancing learning for academic success. 76% (n=51) self determination helped direct their feelings, behaviors, and thoughts towards education. Self determination gave participants a sense of accomplishment, a sense of independence and a sense of control over their personal life decisions. Studies indicate that self-determination is an intrinsic motivation to do something because it is inherently enjoyable and interesting to the individual (Ryan, 2001). As a result, personal gratification to succeed academically satisfies human needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness to others members in society (Ortiz, 2004). Participants experienced autonomy in school when they felt they were given the freedom to take initiatives, develop the implementation of solutions and explore ideas and concepts. Students’ needs are met when LEP

108 students feel a connection to others in school and feel others are listening and responding to their needs. In turn, students feel actively engaged and strengthen their intrinsic motivation. Strategies to increase self-determination in LEP students include: improvement of communication and relationship-building skills, strengthen decision-making capabilities in order to set goals and goal attainment strategies, increasing self-awareness through effective instructional strategies, and developing the ability to reflect on experiences to evaluate successes and failures (Peterson & Skiba, 2001). Such strategies assist students in learning problem-solving skills towards their educational planning process. LEP students learn to actively participate in decision-making abilities by communicating their wants and needs. For example, teachers assisting LEP students in identifying information they would like to share and present in a group setting (McEvoy & Welker, 2000). Participants conveyed when schools provided students opportunities to set goals that are important to them, provided the support of peers, as well as taking steps to help students achieve their academic goals were crucial in increasing student selfdetermination. Research Question No. 6 To answer research question six, one null hypotheses was tested to determine whether a significant difference existed between eighth grade Hispanic LEP students’ academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and combined responses to their perceptions of the importance of school factors: school climate, classroom environment, the quality of academic instruction and individual factors: motivation to achieve and individual social goals. Pearson correlation statistical test was applied to examine the data. The calculated Pearson coefficient was .298 with a p value of .000 (less than the criteria value of p < .05). Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. There was a statistically significant correlation found

109 between the perceived importance of combined responses to their perceptions of the importance of school and individual factors and academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students. In summary, the findings concerning combined school and individual factors used in the investigation impacted academic achievement from the viewpoint of eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient students. It also utilized these students’ perceptions to construct a picture that shows the complexity of these factors and how they are related to each other. Research Question No. 7 An individual’s aspirations reflect perceptions of who they are, who they like to become, who they might become, and who they do not wish to become (McEvoy & Welker, 2000). To realize one’s aspirations, LEP students need to invest time, exert the amount of energy needed and discover available resources to be successful (Ortiz, 2004). In the investigation, one single survey question was used to assess students’ perceptions of the highest level in their lifetime. To answer research question seven, one null hypothesis was tested to determine whether a significant difference existed between eighth grade Hispanic LEP students’ academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS scores and students’ educational aspirations. Pearson correlation statistical test was applied to examine the data. The calculated Pearson coefficient was .023with a p value of .018 (less than the criteria value of p < .05). Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. There was a statistically significant correlation found between students’ educational aspirations and academic achievement as measured by 2008-2009 Reading TAKS score of eighth grade LEP Hispanic students. To conclude, this investigation reviewed school and individual factors that impact on academic achievement from the perception of eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient

110 students. Participants’ point of view was based on two principles: a) when constructing reality as perceived by the participants the researcher must take into consideration all the participants’ views rather than to select and disregard opinions, or to only include the view of the majority only, b) the perceptions of the few students are equally important as the majority opinion due to the belief that education should follow the criterion for “No Child Left Behind,” a zero tolerance level for failure when promoting academic achievement of all students. Connected to academic achievement is a variety of underlying factors that participants’ view as fundamental in attaining academic achievement. 1. Students who are low achievers with low grades can have the idea that “school isn’t for me.” Schools should provide LEP students with the effective tools needs to be successful. Schools should strategies that develop basic curriculum content, the ability to think logically with higher-order thinking strategies (Peterson & Skiba, 2001). 2. Curriculum should be relevant to LEP student learning in order for self evaluation. Students question their learning, “Why do I have to know this?” Curriculum standards should emphasize cooperative learning and effective problem solving strategies (Reed et al., 2005). 3. School communities should provide an atmosphere of encouragement for students to complete high school and strive for future aspirations (Jones et al., 2002). 4. Expectations of parents are crucial in the academic success of LEP students. Parents need to support the school community and successes in students (Harris & Lowery, 2002). 5. Community partners should partner with school communities to improve school curriculum standards, provide scholarships and create work study programs that can develop entrepreneurial venture opportunities for LEP students (Dayton et al., 2004).

111 Recommendations This study has implications on many levels and is divided into the following areas: Recommendations for Educational Leaders and Administrators subdivided into School Climate, Classroom Environment, Quality of Academic Instruction, Motivation and Social Goals and Recommendations for Future Research. Recommendations for Educational Leaders and Administrators Educational leaders should focus on implementing and developing language instruction, content academic instruction programs, and extensive educational programs, for limited English proficient students. These programs must be innovative, highly focused with planned activities to enhance and expand existing educational programs focused on language instruction with academic content instruction centered on student success. This is a constitutional obligation in providing all children with an equitable education, to the avoidance of long-term social problems created by societal production of dropouts which bring about unemployment, poverty, and delinquency (Cejda et al., 2002). School Climate The following recommendations are related to the improvement of the quality of school climate for eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient students. 1. Educational leaders and administrators should create a shared vision where the education for limited English proficient students is a priority. 2. Educational leaders and administrators should create policies and procedures to focus on curtailing school violence in order to have a safe and secure school community.

112 3. Educational leaders and administrators should provide counseling sessions and programs for limited English proficient students in order to provide support and encouragement with issues surrounding their academic success. 4. Educational leaders and administrators should plan and organize staff training that focuses on acceptance of ethnic and language diversity. 5. Educational leaders and administrators should provide parental training and involvement in educational policies for parents of limited English proficient students. 6. Educational leaders and administrators should provide limited English proficient students access to all school activities and extracurricular activities and programs. Classroom Environment and Quality of Academic Instruction The following recommendations are related to the improvement of classroom environment and the quality of academic instruction for eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient students. 1. Educational leaders and administrators should increase course offerings in order to prepare limited English proficient students for high school and college. 2. Educational leaders and administrators should provide curriculum that incorporates limited English proficient students’ experiences and background in the classrooms in order to make subject content relevant and meaningful to LEP students. 3. Educational leaders and administrators should provide alternative methods to assess mastery of content such as projects and portfolios. 4. Educational leaders and administrators should increase student to student and student to teacher communication in the classroom. Creating cooperative grouping with assignment

113 of responsibilities and duties to each member is vital for LEP students to feel as a vital member in the class. 5. Educational leaders and administrators should provide staff training on instructional strategies in teaching limited English proficient students, second language acquisition research, and alternative assessment methods. 6. Educational leaders and administrators should monitor the effectiveness of the instructional programs offered at the school by including indicators that measure LEP students’ academic progress (course grades, English proficiency assessments). 7. Educational leaders and administrators should monitor the effectiveness of the instructional programs offered at the school for LEP students in order to monitor instruction and interaction between teacher and student. 8. Educational leaders and administrators should provide learner-centered environments to meet the individual and diverse needs of LEP students. Motivation and Social Goals The following recommendations are offered to sustain motivation to achieve and encourage student participation in school life for eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient students. 1. Educational leaders and administrators should offer support services to limited English proficient students with personal problems and adaptation to school setting. 2. Educational leaders and administrators should offer project-based programs that align themselves with workforce.

114 3. Educational leaders and administrators should create connections between the school and community showcasing community leaders and college students who have the same ethnic/linguistic background as the LEP students. Recommendations for Further Study Recommendations for further study are as follows: 1. 2. 3. A study could be conducted at the state level or national level. A study could be conducted to involve another minority group in a similar study. A study could be conducted that investigates the perceptions of newly arrived Hispanic limited English proficient students. The length of time in U.S. schools may be related to student motivation and the perceived importance of the variables. 4. A study could be conducted on a different language group to investigate school and individual factors that contribute to the academic achievement of the particular group. 5. A study could be conducted that investigates different school and individual factors that may affect the perceptions of eighth grade Hispanic limited English proficient students. 6. A replication of this study could be conducted if a formulated construct for achievement could be used rather than Reading TAKS scores. A revised version of the questionnaire could also be used. 7. Finally, it would be useful for administrators in schools with limited English proficient students to implement the recommendations from the study and observe its impact on LEP students’ academic achievement over a period of time.

115 References Aitchison, J. (1994). Words in the mind: An introduction to the mental lexicon. Oxford: Blackwell. Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Amabile, T. M., Hill, K. G., Hennessey, B. A., Tighe, E. M. (1994). The work preference inventory: Assessing intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66(3). Retrieved November 14, 2008, from http://brj.asu.edu/v243/articles/art2.html Arseneau, R., & Rodenburg, D. (1998). The developmental perspective: cultivating ways of thinking. Educational Administration Quarterly, 41(1), 49-82. Ashton-Warner, S. (1963). Teacher. New York: Simon and Schuster. August, D., & Hakuta, K. (Eds). (1997). Improving schooling for language minority children: A research agenda. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Ayers, W.(1993). To teach: The journey of a teacher. New York: Teachers College Press. Baratz-Snowden, J., Rock, D., Pollack, 3., & Wilder, G. (1988). The educational progress of language minority children: Findings from the NAEP 1985-1986 study. Princeton, NJ: National Assessment of Educational Progress-Educational Testing Service. Barber, B. K., & Olsen, J. A. (2004). Assessing the transitions to middle and high school. Journal of Adolescent Research 19(1), 3–30). Batalova, J., Fix, M., & Murray, J. (2007). Measures of a Change: The Demography and Literacy of Adolescent English Learners. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.

116 Benaim, Darel. (1995). “Constructivism as an Educational Philosophy: A Thumbnail Sketch.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 453-568. Berman, S. (1997). Children’s social consciousness and the development of social responsibility. Albany: State University of New York Press. Blackledge, D., Jr., (1997). The relationship between school dropouts and selected factors and characteristics. Teaching and Learning Journal, 40 (3), 165-210. Bonwell, C. & Eison, J. (1991). Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. Catalyst for Change, 25(1), p.16. Brooks, G. J. and Brooks, G. M. (1993). In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved August 13, 2008, from http://ietn.snunit.k12.il/gramcall.htm Brook, J., Nomura, C., & Cohen, P. (1989). A network of influences on adolescent drug involvement: Neighborhood, school, peer, and family. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 115 (1), 303-321. Brookover, W.B., Beamer, L. Efthim, H., Hathaway, D., Lezotte, L., Miller, S., Passolacqua, J., and Tornatzky, L. (1982). Creating effective schools. Holmes Beach, Florida: Learning Publications Inc. Brophy, J. (1985). Teacher’s expectations, motives, and goals for working with problem students, in Ames, C. and Ames, R. (Eds). Research on Motivation in Education: The classroom milieu. San Diego: Academic Press, Inc. Bryk, A.S., & Thum, Y.M. (1989). The effects of high school organization on dropping out: An exploratory investigation. American Educational Research Journal, 26, 353-383.

117 Byrnes, J. P. (1996). Cognitive Development and Learning in Instructional Contexts. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Carini, P. (1982). The school lives of seven children: A five year study. TESOL Quarterly, 86(4), 758-841. Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. (1995). Great transitions, preparing adolescents for a new century. New York: Carnegie Corporation. Cejda, B., Casparis, C. & Rhodes, J. (2002). Influences on the educational decisions of Hispanic students enrolled in Hispanic serving institutions. Presented at the Annual Conference of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges. Seattle, WA, April 19-20, 2002. Retrieved March 3, 2007, from http://www.aace.org/pubs/etr/issue4/clements2.pdf Chamot, A. U., & O’Malley, J. M. (1994). The CALLA handbook: Implementing the cognitive academic language learning approach. New York, NY: Longman. Cobb, P. Perlwitz, M. Underwood, D (1991) Constructivism and Activity Theory: A consideration of their similarities and differences as they relate to mathematics education. Part C: Research Agenda. Rosslyn, VA: InterAmerica Research Associates. Collier, V. (1987). Age and rate of acquisition of second language for academic purposes. TESOL Quarterly, 21(4), 617-641. Collier, V. (1989). How long? A synthesis of research on academic achievement in a second language. TESOL Quarterly, 23(3), 509-531. Collier, V., & Thomas, W. P. (1989). How quickly can immigrants become proficient in school English? Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students, 5, 26-38.

118 Confrey, J. (1990) ‘What constructivism implies for teaching’, in Davis, Maher and Noddings (Eds.) Constructivist views on the teaching and learning of mathematics. JRME Monograph, Reston, Virginia, NCTM. Cosentino de Cohen, Clemencia, Nicole Deterding, and Beatriz Chu Clewell. (2005). Who’s Left Behind? Immigrant Children in High and Low LEP Schools. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://www.buringchrome.com:8000/cdent/fiaarts/docs/1005018884:23962.html Cotton, K. (1996). Affective and social benefits of small-scale schooling. Charleston: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small School. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 401 088). Crandall, J. (1981). Theory and measurement of social interest. New York: Columbia University Press. Crawford, K. (1991) Cultural processes and learning: expectations actions and outcomes. Paper presented to the Cultural Perspectives Subgroup of the Theory Group at ICME 7, Quebec. Retrieved January 20, 2008, from http://www.aace.org/pubs/etr/issue4/clements2.pdf Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Collins. Cummins, J. (1980). Psychological assessment of immigrant children: Logic or institution? Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 1(2), 97-111. Cummins, J. (1981). Age on arrival and immigrant second language learning in Canada: A reassessment. Applied Linguistics, 11(2), 132-149.

119 Cummins, J. (1996). Negotiating Identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society. Ontario, CA: California Association for Bilingual Education. Retrieved August 5, 2008 from http://www.ed.gov/pubs/IASA/newsletters/profdev/pt1.html Curwin, R. (1992). Rediscovering hope: Our greatest teaching strategy. Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service. Davis P.J. and Mason J.H. (1989) ‘Notes on a radical constructivist epistomethodology applied to didactic situations’, Journal of structured learning, Vol. 10 157-176 Dayton, B., Gonzalez-Vasquez, N., Martinez, C. R., & Plum, C. (2004). Hispanic-serving institutions through the eyes of students and administrators. New Directions for Student Services, 105, 29-39. Deci, E. L. and Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic Motivation and Self Determination in Human Behavior. New York: Plenum Publishing Corporation. DelliCarpini, Margo & Gulla, Amanda. Sharing Stories and Developing Multiple Perspectives in Post-9/11 Classrooms. English Journal (High school edition). Urbana: Nov 2006. Vol. 96, Iss. 2; p. 47-89. Delpit, Lisa D. Education in a Multicultural Society: Our Future’s Greatest Challenge. The Journal of Negro Education. Washington: Summer 1992. Vol. 61, Iss. 3; p. 237-279. Delpit, L. (1995). Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New York: New Press. DeRosier, Kupersmidt, M., & Patterson, C. (2001). Children’s Academic and Behavioral Adjustment as a Function of the Chronicity and Proximity of Peer Rejection. Child Development, Vol. 65, No. 6 (Dec., 1994), pp. 1799-1813.

120 Dewey, John. (1966). Democracy and Education. New York: Free Press. Dörnyei, Z. (1994). Understanding L2 motivation: On with the challenge! The Modern Language Journal, 78 (4), 515 - 522. Edmunds, R.R. (1979). Some schools work and others can. Social Policy, 9, 28-32. Edmunds, R. (1979). Effective schools for the urban poor. Educational Leadership, 36, 15-23. Education Trust. (2007). The Education Trust-Closing the Achievement Gap. Retrieved August 20, 2008, from http://www.edtrust.org./ Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2007). America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2007. Washington, DC: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Retrieved July 13, 2008, from www.ncsdae.org Fillmore, L. W. (1999, February). The class of 2002: Will everyone be there? The Qualitative Report, 2(3). Retrieved May 14, 2008 from http://www. novaedu/sss/QR/QR23/nau.html Fine, M., Weis, L., & Powell, L.C. (1997). Communities of difference: A critical look at the desegregated spaces created for and by youth. Harvard Educational Review, 67(2), 247284). Fogarty, R. (1991). Ten Ways to Integrate Curriculum. Educational Leadership, 49(2), 61-65. Fraenkel, J.R. and Wallen, N.E. (2006). How to design and evaluate research in education (6th ed.) New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Freeman, Y., & Freedman, D. (1998). ESL/EFL teaching principles for success. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Freiberg, H. J. (1998). Measuring school climate: Let me count the ways. Educational Leadership, 56(1), 22-26.

121 Fry, Richard. 2007. The Changing Racial and Ethnic Composition of U.S. Public Schools. August. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from http://schools.nyc.gov/offices/default.htm Fry, Richard. 2007. How Far Behind in Math and Reading are English Language Learners? June. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from http://schools.nyc.gov/offices/default.htm Galloway D., Gallenberger, C. A Positive School Environment. High School Magazine, v7 n3 p28-33 Nov 1999. Gandara, P. (1999). Staying in the race: The challenge for Chicanos/as in higher education. In J.F. Moreno (Ed.), The elusive quest for equality: 150 years of Chicano/Chicana education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Review. Retrieved August 5, 2008 from http://www.nsdc.org/standards/index.cfm Gardner, R. C. & Lambert, W. E. (Eds). (1972). Attitude and Motivation in Second Language Learning. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House Publishers. Gardner, R. C. (1960). Motivational variables in second-language acquisition, in Gardner, R. C. and Lambert, W. E. (1972) (Eds). Attitude and Motivation in Second Language Learning. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House Publishers. Gardner, R. C. (1985). Social Psychology and Second Language Learning: The role of attitudes and motivation. London: Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd. Gardner, R. C., Lalonde, R. N. & Pierson, R. (1983). The socio-educational model of second language acquisition: An investigation using LISREL casual modeling. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 2, 1 - 16.

122 Glasser, W. The quality school. (1990). Phi Delta Kappan, 14,, 425-435. Glasser, W. The Quality School. (1990). New York: Harper & Row. Good, T., and J. Brophy. (1995). Contemporary Educational Psychology. (5th ed.) New York: Harper Collins. Goodenow, C. (1993). The psychological sense of school membership among adolescents. Psychology in the Schools, 10(1), 79—90. Greene, J.P. & Winters, M.A. (2002). Public School Graduation Rates in the United States. New York: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Gusman, Jo. (1996). Practical Strategies for Accelerating the Literacy Skills and Content Learning of Your ESL Student. Handbook. Bureau of Education and Research. WA. Hallinan, M., & Williams, R. Relations of Friendship Quality to Self-Esteem in Early Adolescence: Students’ Characteristics and the Peer-Influence Process. Sociology of Education, Vol. 63, No. 2 (Apr., 1990), pp. 122-132. Hallinan, Maureen T. & Sørensen, Aage B. Ability Grouping and Student Friendships American Educational Research Journal, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Winter, 1985), pp. 485-499. Hanna, J. W. (1998). School climate: Changing fear to fun. Contemporary Education, 69(2), 83. Harris, S. L., & Lowery, S. (2002). A view from the classroom. Educational Leadership, 59(8), 64-65. Harter, S. and Connell, J. P. (1984). A model of children’s achievement and related selfperceptions of competence, control, and motivational orientation, in Nicholls, J. G. Advances in Motivation and Achievement, vol. 3. London: JAI Press Inc. Hayes, R.L., Nelson, J., Tabin, N.,Pearson, G., & Worthy, C. (2002). Using school-wide data to advocate foe student success. Professional School Counseling, 6(2), 86-95.

123 Haynes, N. M. (1998). Creating safe and caring school communities: Comer School Development Program schools. Journal of Negro Education, 65, 308-314. Haynes, N. M., Emmons, C., & Comer, J. P. (1993). Elementary and middle school climate survey. New Haven, CT. Yale University Child Study Center. Heath, S.B. (1983).Ways with words. New York: Cambridge University Press. Hodge, C. (1990). Educators for a truly democratic system of schooling. In J. Goodlad & P. Keating (Eds.), Access to knowledge: An agenda for our nation’s schools. New York: College Entrance Examination Board. Howard, J. (1990). Getting smart: The social construction of intelligence. Lexington, MA: The Efficacy Institute. Hoy, W. K., Smith, P. A., & Sweetland, S. R. (2002). The development of the organizational climate index for high schools: Its measure and relationship to faculty trust. The High School Journal, 86 (2), 38-49. Hoyle, S. M., & Adger, C. T. (1999). Introduction. In S.M. Hoyle & C.T. Adger (Eds.), Kids talk: Strategic language use in later childhood, 3-22. New York: Oxford. Jackson, D. N. 1989. Personality Research Form Manual. 4th Edition. Port Huron, MI: Sigma Assessment Systems, Inc. Johnson, W. L., & Johnson, M. (1993). Validity of the quality of school life scale: A primary and second-order factor analysis. Educational & Psychological Measurement, 53(1), 145153. Johnson, W. L., & Johnson, A. M. (1997). Assessing the validity of scores on the Charles F. Kettering Scale for the junior high school. Educational & Psychological Measurement, 57(5), 858-869.

124 Johnson, W. L., Johnson, A. M., & Zimmerman, K., (1996). Assessing school climate priorities: A Texas study. The Clearing House, 70(2), 64-66. Jones, L., Castellanos, J., & Cole, D. (2002). Examining the ethnic minority student experience at predominantly White institutions: A case study. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 1(1), 19-39. Kagan, D. (1990). How schools alienate students at risk: A model for examining proximal classroom variables. Educational Psychologist, 25, 103—125. Kamii, C., Manning, M., Manning, G. & Editors. (1991) Early Literacy: A Constructivist Foundation for Whole Language. Washington, D. C.: National Education Association of the United States. Kaufman,P., Alt, M.N., & Chapman,C. (2001). Dropout rates in the United States: 2000 (NCES 2002114). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Keefe, J. W., Kelley, E. A. (1990). Comprehensive assessment and school improvement. National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin, 74(530), 54-63. Kesner, J. (2000). Teacher characteristics and the quality of child-teacher relationships. Journal of School Psychology, 28(2), 133–149. Kidder, T. (1990). Among school children. New York: Avon. Kilpatrick, J. (1987) ‘What constructivism might be in mathematics education. Journal of School Psychology, 52(2), 333–435. Kinderman, T.A. (1993). Natural peer groups as contexts for individual development: The case of children’s motivation in school. Development Psychology, 29, 970-977. Kohl, H. (1967). Thirty-six children. New York: New American Library.

125 Kohl, H. (1994). ‘I won’t learn from you’ and other thoughts on creative maladjustment. New York: The New Press. Kubitschek, Warren N. & Hallinan, Maureen T. Tracking and Students’ Friendships. Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 1 (Mar., 1998), pp. 1-15 Kuchemann, D. (1981) ‘Algebra’, in Hart, K. (ed.) Children’s understanding of mathematics 1116. London: John Murray. Kuh, G.D. (2001). Assessing what really matters to student learning: Inside the National Survey of Student Engagement. Change, 33(3), 10-17, 66 Kuh, G. D. (2003). What we’re learning about student engagement from NSSE. Change 35(2), 24-32 Kuperminc, G. P., Leadbeater, B. J., & Blatt, S. J. (2001). School social climate and individual differences in vulnerability to psychopathology among middle school students. Journal of School Psychology, 39(2), 141-159. Kuperminc, G. P., Leadbeater, B. J., Emmons, C., & Blatt, S. J. (1997). Perceived school climate and difficulties in the social adjustment of middle school students. Applied Developmental Science, 1(2), 76-88. Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991) Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press Leathley, Le P., Mavis. A study to develop an understanding of English language learner’s interpretation of the roles of oral language proficiency, social interaction and safe environment in learning to read successfully. University of La Verne, 2006, 204-256.

126 Lepper, M.R. & Hodell, M. (1989). Intrinsic motivation in the classroom. In C. Ames & R. Ames, Research on Motivation in Education: Goals and Cognitions. (Vol 3). New York: Academic Press. Levin, H. (1988). Accelerated schools for disadvantaged students. Educational Leadership, 44 (6), 19-21. Lezotte, Lawrence W. Creating effective schools today and tomorrow. The Journal for Quality and Participation. Cincinnati: Jan/Feb 1993. Vol. 16, Iss. 1; p. 22-46. Logan, J. (2004). Resegregation in American public schools? Not in the 1990s. University of Albany: Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research. National Center for Education Statistics. 1995. Overview of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools and Districts: School Year 1993-94, NCES 95799, Washington, D.C.: NCES. Lu, Yi-Chen. (2007). ESL students’ learning motivations and learning strategies. University of South Dakota, 2007, 138-210. Lucas, T., Henze, R., & Donato, R. (1990). Promoting the success of Latino language-minority students: An exploratory study of six high schools. Harvard Educational Review, 60(3), 315-340. Lumsden, L.S. (1994). Student motivation to learn (ERIC Digest No. 92). Eugene, OR: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 370 200) MacIver, D.J. (1990). Meeting the needs of young adolescents: Advisory groups, interdisciplinary teaching teams, and school transition programs. Phi Delta Kappan, 71, 458-464.

127 MacIver, D.J. (1991). Enhancing students’ motivation to learn by altering assessment, reward, and recognition structures: Year 1 of the incentives for improvement program. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Research on Effective Schooling for Disadvantaged Students. MacIver, D.J., & Reuman, D.A. (1994). Giving their best: Grading and recognition practices that motivate students to work hard. American Educator, 17(4), 24-31. Maehr, M. L. and Archer, J. (1987). Motivation and school achievement, in Katz, L. G. (Ed.). Current Topics in Early Childhood Education. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishers. Manning, M. L., & Saddlemire, R. (1996). Developing a sense of community in secondary schools. National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin, 80(584), 41-48. Marcias, R.F. and Spencer, M. (1984). Estimating the number of language minority and limitedEnglish proficient children in the United States: A comparative analysis of the students. Los Alamitos, CA: National Center for Bilingual Research. Maslow, A. (1971). The farther reaches of human nature. New York: Viking. Martin, Laura (1991) Learning in Children: Organization and Development of Cooperative Actions. New York: David McKay Company, Inc. Martin, E., Tobin, T.J., & Sugai, G. M. (2002). Current information on dropout prevention: Ideas from practitioners and the literature. Preventing School Failure, 47(1), 10-18. McClelland, D. C. (1985). Human Motivation. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman. McLaughlin, M., Irby, M., & Langman, J. (1994). Urban sanctuaries: Neighborhood organizations in the lives and futures of inner-city youth. San Francisco, CA: JosseyBass.

128 McEvoy, A., & Welker, R. (2000). Antisocial behavior, academic failure, and school climate: A critical review. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 8(3), 130- 140. McNamara, K. (1996). Bonding to school and the development of responsibility. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 4(4), 33—35. Mehan, Hugh, Hubbard, Lea & Villanueva, Irene. Forming Academic Identities: Accommodation without Assimilation among Involuntary Minorities. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Jun., 1994), pp. 91-117. Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (11th ed.). (2003). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster. Miles, M.B., and Huberman, A.M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Mistral, A. (1998). Factors Contributing to the Academic Achievement of Hispanic Limited English Proficient High School Students. Learning Newsletter, Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://lttf.ieee.org/learn/issues/octover 2004/learn Moje, Elizabeth B., Labbo, Linda D., Baumann, James F., Gaskins, Irene W. What will classrooms and schools look like in the new millennium? Reading Research Quarterly. Newark: Jan-Mar 2000. Vol. 35, Iss. 1; p. 128-145. Moneta, G. B.,Wong, F.H.Y. In press. The construct validity of the Chinese adaptation of four thematic scales of the Personality Research Form. Social Behavior and Personality, 29(4), 123-130. Murphy, J. (1989). Is there equity in educational reform? Educational Leadership. 46(5), 32-33. Murray, C. (2002) “Supportive teacher-student relationships: Promoting the Social and Emotional Health of Early Adolescents with High Incidence Disabilities.” Childhood Education, 67(4), 285-290.

129 National Center for Education Statistics. (2007a.) Documentation to the NCES Common Core of Data Public Elementary/ Secondary School Universe Survey: School Year 2005-06, NCES 2007-365, Washington, D.C.: NCES. National Center for Education Statistics. (2007b). Public Elementary and Secondary School Student Enrollment, High School Completions, and Staff from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2005-06, NCES 2007-352, Washington, D.C.: NCES. National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative of Education Reform. Retrieved April 5, 2002, from http://www.ed.gov/pubs/NatAtRisk/risk.html Newman, F., & Holzman, L. (1993).Lev Vygotsky, revolutionary scientist. London: Routledge. Ochoa, A.M., Hurtado, J., Espinosa, R., and Zachman, J.(1987). The empowerment of all students: framework for the prevention of school dropouts. San Diego: Institute for Cultural Pluralism, San Diego State University. Olsen, L. (1988). Crossing the schoolhouse border: Immigrant students and the California public schools. San Francisco: California Tomorrow. Olsen, L., Jaramillo, A., McCall-Perez, A., & White, J. (1999). Igniting change for immigrant students: Portraits of three high schools. Oakland, CA: California Tomorrow. Ortiz, A. M. (2004). Promoting the success of Latino students: A call to action. New Directions for Student Services, 105, 89-97. Papert, Seymour. (1993) The Children’s Machine. New York: Basic Books, A Division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Peterson, R.L., &Skiba, R. (2001). Creating school climates that prevent school violence. The Clearing House, 74(3), 155-163.

130 Peyton, J. K., & Adger, C. T. (1998). Appropriate instruction for English language learners: Emphasis on oral interaction. .Language Learning, 68, 536-575. Phelan, Davidson, P., Locke, H., & Cao T. (1992). Speaking up: Students’ Perspectives on School. Phi Delta Kappan (1992): 695-704. Piaget, Jean. (1973). To Understand is to Invent. New York: Grossman. Pianta, Robert C. (1999). Enhancing Relationships Between Children and Teachers. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Assn. Retrieved on March 4, 2008, from http://eric.uoregon.edu/digest135.html Pianta, R. C., Hamre,B., & Stuhlman, M. (2003). Relationships between teachers and children.. Handbook of early childhood intervention. New York: Cambridge University Press. Pianta, R. C., Stuhlman, M., & Hamre, B. (2002).How schools can do better: Fostering stronger connections between teachers and students. In J. Rhodes (Ed.), New Directions in Youth Development: Theory, Practice, Research, Vol. 4(4), 91-107. Pintrich, P. (2000). The role of goal orientation in self-regulated learning, in Boekarts, M., Pintrich, P. and Zeidner, M. (Eds). Handbook of Self Regulation. Sydney; Academic Press. Ream, Robert K & Rumberger, Russell W. (2008). Student Engagement, Peer Social Capital, and School Dropout Among Mexican American and Non-Latino White Students. Sociology of Education, Vol. 81(2), 109-123. Rossiter, Marian J.(2001). The effects of strategy training on L2 learners. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, Vol. 5(23), 183-234. Reed, Deborah, et. al. (2005). Educational Progress Across Immigrant Generations in California. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California.

131 Rogers, C.R. & Freiberg, H.J. (1994). Freedom to Learn (3rd Ed). Columbus, OH:Merrill/MacMillan, Retrieved May 17, 2008, from http://www.educationau.edu.au/archives/cp/04f.html Rumberger, Russell W. (1987). “High School Dropouts: A Review of Issues and Evidence.” Review of Educational Research, 57(34), 101–21. Rumberger, Russell W. (2004). Why Students Drop Out of School. Pp. 131–55 in Dropouts in America: Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis, edited by Gary Orefield. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Rumberger, Russell W. (2008). Solving California’s Dropout Crisis. Report of the California Dropout Research Project Policy Committee. Santa Barbara California Dropout Research Project, University of California, Santa Barbara. Retrieved March 5, 2008, from http://lmri.ucsb.edu/dropouts/pubs.htm Rumberger, R., & Larson., K. (1998). Student Mobility and the Increased Risk of High School Dropout. American Journal of Education 107(1), 23–35. Rumberger, R., & Palardy, G. (2005). Test Scores, Dropout Rates, and Transfer Rates as Alternative Indicators of High School Performance. American Educational Research Journal, Washington: Vol. 42(1), 235-254. Rumberger, R., & Thomas, S. (2000). The Distribution of Dropout and Turnover Rates among Urban and Suburban High Schools. Sociology of Education, 73:39–67. Rumberger, R & Lamb, S. (2003). The Early Employment and Further Education Experiences of High School Dropouts: A Comparative Study of the United States and Australia. Economics of Education Review, 22 (3), 353–66.

132 Rutter, M., Maughan, B., Mortimore, P., Ouston, J., & Smith, A. (1979). Fifteen thousand hours: secondary school and their effects on children. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Ryan, Allison M. (2000). Peer Groups as a Context for the Socialization of Adolescents’ Motivation, Engagement, and Achievement in School. Educational Psychologist 35:101– 11. Ryan, Allison M. (2001). The Peer Group as a Context for the Development of Young Adolescent Motivation and Achievement. Child Development, Vol. 72, No. 4, pp. 11351150. Salili, F.( 1994). Age, sex and cultural differences in the meaning and dimensions of achievement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2, 635-648. Schneider, B., & Stevenson, D. (1999). The ambitious generation: America’s teenagers, motivated but directionless. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Shore, R. (1995). How one high school improved school climate. Educational Leadership, February, 76-78. Short, D. J. (1993). Assessing integrated Language and content instruction. TESOL Quarterly, 27(4), 627-656. Siu, C. M. Y. (2001). The effects of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations on problem finding and creativity in Hong Kong college students. Unpublished undergraduate thesis, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Retrieved March 20, 2008, from http://lmri.ucsb.edu/dropouts/pubs.htm Skehan, P. (1989). Individual Differences in Second Language Learning. London: Edward Arnold.

133 Skehan, P. (1998). Task-based instruction. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 18, 268 – 286. Slavin, R., Karweit, N., & Madden, N. (1998). Effective programs for students at risk. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Slavin, R. and Madden, N. (1989). What works for students at risk: A research synthesis. Educational Leadership, 46(5), 4-13. Smink, J., & Schargel, F.P. (2004). Helping students graduate: A strategic approach to dropout prevention. Laechmont, NY: Eye on Education. Retrieved September 19, 2008, from http://lmri.ucsb.edu/icu/desru/pubs.htm Smith, R.C. and Lincoln, C. (1988). America’s shame, America’s hope: Twelve million youth at risk. Chapel Hill, NC: MDC, Inc. Steinbeck, J. (1952). East of Eden. New York: Penguin. Strommen, Erik F. and Lincoln, Bruce (1992) “Constructivism, Technology, and the Future of Classroom Learning. “ Retrieved January 20, 2008 form http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/K12/livetext/docs/construct.html Suarez-Orozco, C., & Suarez-Orozco,, M. (2001). Immigrant children and the American project. Education Week. Bethesda: Vol. 20, Iss. 27; p. 56.-78. Swanson, C. (2008). “Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation,” Education Research Center, April 1, 2008. Retrieved April 4, 2008, from http://lmri.ucsb.edu/ncsd/iefs/pubs.htm Taylor, D. L., & Tashakkori, A. (1995). Decision participation and school climate as predictors of job satisfaction and teacher’s sense of efficacy. Journal of Experimental Education, 63(3), 217-227.

134 Testerman, Janet. (1996). Holding At-Risk Students: The Secret Is One-on-One. Phi Delta Kappan: 364-365. Torres, V. (2003). Mi casa is not exactly like your house. About Campus, 8(2), 2-8. U.S. Census Bureau. (2005). School Enrollment—Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2003, Current Population Report P20-554, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2008, from http://lmri.ucsb.edu/ewerk/loi/pubs.htm U.S. General Accounting Office. (2002). School dropouts: Education could play a stronger role in identifying and disseminating promising prevention strategies (GAO-02-240). Washington, DC. Retrieved April 18, 2008, from http://lmri.ucsb.edu/dropouts/pubs.htm Valdivieso, R. (1986). Must they wait another generation? Hispanics and secondary school reform. New York: ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education. Velez, W. (1989). High school attrition among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white youths. Sociology of Education 62 (April), 119-133. Vernez, G., & Abrahamse, A. (1996). How immigrant fare in U.S. education. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Center for Research on Immigration Policy. Retrieved March 20, 2008, from http://lmri.ucsb.edu/dropouts/pubs.htm Villareal, Abelardo. (1999). Rethinking the Education of English Language Learners: Transitional Bilingual Education Programs, Bilingual Research Journal,23 (1), 11-45. Washington, DC: National Association for Bilingual Education (1999). Wehlage, G., Rutter, R., Smith, G., Lesko, N., & Fernandez, R. (1989). Reducing the risk: Schools as communities of support. Educational Leadership, 54(2), 35-57.

135 Weinstein, R., Soule, C., Collins, F., Cone, J., Mehlorn, M., & Stimmonacchi, K. (1991). Expectations and high school change: Teacher-researcher collaboration to prevent school failure. American Journal of Community Psychology, 19, 333-363. Wortham, Stanton and M. Contreras. (2002). Struggling toward culturally relevant pedagogy in the latino diaspora. Journal of Latinos and Education. 1(2): 133-144. Shonkoff (Eds.). (1999). Handbook of early childhood intervention (pp. 97-116). New York: Cambridge University Press. Werner, E., & Smith, R. (1989). Vulnerable but invincible: A longitudinal study of resilient children and youth. New York: Adams, Bannister, and Cox. Werner, E., & Smith, R. (1992). Overcoming the odds: High-risk children from birth to adulthood. New York: Cornell University. Retrieved September 14, 2008, from http://lmri.ucsb.edu/dropouts/pubs.htm Wong-Fillmore, L. (1983). “The language learner as an individual: Implications of research on individual differences for ESL teacher.” In J. Lindfors (Ed.), Paper presented at the Annual Convention of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. HI, Honolulu. Retrieved April 4, 2008, from http://lmri.ucsb.edu/idnue/rihnt.htm Wynne, E.A. (1980). Looking at schools: Good bad, and indifferent. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath. Zeichner, K.M. (1995). Educating teachers to close the achievement gap: Issues of pedagogy, knowledge, and teacher preparation. In B. Williams (Ed.), Closing the achievement gap: A vision to guide change in beliefs and practice. Oak Brook, IL: Research for Better Schools and North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved August 20, 2008, from http://liebui.ucsb.edu/ropuei/icus/pubs.htm

136 Appendix A Survey Questionnaire

ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF HISPANIC LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT STUDENTS The questionnaire will ask about your thoughts on our school, your classes and your academic goals. Your answers will be confidential; the researcher will be the only one who will have access to each participant’s name and identification number. Please do not write your name on the questionnaire. Participant’s Identification Number ___________________________ PART I-GENERAL INFORMATION Check one: 1. Check one: A. Male B. Female 2. I am ____________ years old. 3. Your father’s educational background: A. Some elementary school B. Finished elementary school C. Some high school D. Finished high school E. Some college F. Completed college 4. Your mother’s educational background: A. Some elementary school B. Finished elementary school C. Some high school D. Finished high school E. Some college F. Completed college

137 5. Are you currently in a free or reduced lunch program at your school? A. Yes B. No PART II-SCHOOL CLIMATE Please mark one answer for each statement.
SCHOOL CLIMATE
Extremely Important Very Important Important Somewhat Important Not at All Important

How important is each of the following to you? 6. It is important my school is a safe place, where there are NO fights, threats, or violence. 7. It is important the students in my school behave well in school. 8. It is important the principal, assistant principal, counselors and teachers discuss with me school policies and issues before they make a decision. 9. It is important the principal, assistant principal, counselors and teachers discuss with me the appropriate behavior in school. 10. It is important the principal, assistant principal, counselors and teachers feels I can succeed academically in school. 11. It is important I feel valued by my ESL Reading teacher. My teacher listens to my opinions and respects my opinions. 12. It is important I participate in school clubs and school teams. 13. It is important I can speak Spanish any place in school without fear of being punished or that other students will make fun of me.

A A A

B B B

C C C

D D D

E E E

A

B

C

D

E

A

B

C

D

E

A

B

C

D

E

A A

B B

C C

D D

E E

A

B

C

D

E

138 14. It is important the principal, assistant principal, counselors and teachers are aware and accepting of the Hispanic culture, traditions and language. 15. It is important the principal, assistant principal, counselors and teachers expect me to be prepared for school. 16. It is important the principal, assistant principal, counselors and teachers expect me to do my classwork and homework.
SCHOOL CLIMATE Cont…

A

B

C

D

E

A

B

C

D

E

A
Extremely Important

B
Very Important

C
Important

D
Somewhat Important

E
Not at All Important

17. It is important the principal, assistant principal, counselors and teachers expect me to make good grades. 18. It is important the principal, assistant principal, counselors and teachers expect me to have good behavior. 19. It is important the principal, assistant principal, counselors and teachers expect me to attend school everyday.
YOUR CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT

A

B

C

D

E

A

B

C

D

E

A

B

C

D

E

20. It is important in my Reading class to talk about what I am learning. 21. It is important I find out more about what I am learning, and connect it to other things that I learned before. 22. It is important I can explain my work to the class and hear other classmates and teachers’ comments. 23. It is important I can receive help from teachers and other classmates. 24. It is important I am able to answer challenging questions in the classroom.

A A

B B

C C

D D

E E

A A A

B B B

C C C

D D D

E E E

139 25.It is important I can use handson materials and models in the classroom. 26. It is important I can apply what I’m learning in the classroom to real-life experiences outside the school. 27. It is important I can teach others what I’ve learned in the classroom.
ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION

A A A

B B B

C C C

D D D

E E E

28. It is important to make good grades and learn more in Mathematics class. 29. It is important to make good grades and learn more in Social Studies class.
ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION Cont.

A A
Extremely Important

B B
Very Important

C C
Important

D D
Somewhat Important

E E
Not at All Important

30. It is important to make good grades and learn more in Science class. 31. It is important to make good grades and learn more in Reading class. PART III YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS MOTIVATION 32. It is important I come to school and take subjects that are interesting and challenging. 33. It is important I have a feeling of satisfaction from following routines and procedures in the classroom. 34. It is important to meet new friends in my classroom. 35. It is important to have better opportunities in the future.

A A

B B

C C

D D

E E

A A A A

B B B B

C C C C

D D D D

E E E E

140 36. It is important to play on a team or belong in a club. 37. It is important to please teachers who care about me. 38. It is important to be around young people similar to me. 39. It is important to do well in school and make my parents happy. 40. It is important to make good grades and compete with my classmates. 41. It is important to set a good example to others. 42. It is important to come to school because I have nothing else to do. PEERS 43. It is important to hang out with friends who attend classes regularly. 44. It is important to hang out with friends who like to please their parents and teachers. 45. It is important to hang out with friends who play on a team or belong to a club. 46. It is important to hang out with friends who make good grades. 47. It is important to hang out with friends who want to finish high school. 48. It is important to hang out with friends who belong to a gang. 50. It is important to hang out with friends who drink alcohol, use drugs, fight, or own a weapon.

A A A A A A A
Extremely Important

B B B B B B B
Very Important

C C C C C C C
Important

D D D D D D D
Somewhat Important

E E E E E E E
Not at All Important

A A A A A A A

B B B B B B B

C C C C C C C

D D D D D D D

E E E E E E E

141 51. It is important to hang out with friends who will continue their education after high school.

A

B

C

D

E

PART IV-YOUR EDUCATIONAL FUTURE 52. How far in school do you think you will accomplish? (Mark only one answer) A. Less than high school graduation B. High school graduation C. Other training after high school graduation D. Some college E. College graduation

THANK YOU FOR TIME AND EFFORT!

142 Appendix B Two-Part Essay Question

IDENTIFICATION NUMBER ____________________________________ DATE__________________ Directions: Please read and respond to Part I and Part II of this survey. PART I: Your friend lives in a Spanish-speaking country and he or she doe not speak English. He or she wants to come to this town and attend your school next year. Your friend is a very good student and likes a school where he or she can learn, make good grades, and graduate with honors. • What would you tell him or her about your school? • What advice would you give him or her so your friend can be a good student in your school? • What would you tell him or her about your ESL classes?

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

143 ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

144 PART II: • What would you tell your friend about why you like or dislike going to school?

___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________

145 • What would you tell him or her about other friends that go to school with you?

___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________

146 Appendix C Letter Requesting Permission To Survey Participants _____________________ Superintendent ___________Independent School District Address City, State, Zip Code

Dear___________________, I am conducting a study as part of the requirements of the doctoral program of the division of Educational Leadership at Prairie View A & M University. The focus of this study is the identification of school and individual factors perceived by eighth grade Hispanic Limited English Proficient students, as positively influencing their academic achievement. I am requesting to meet eighth grade LEP students in the district and ask for voluntary participants. Please feel free to contact me for further details and questions. Thank you for your help!

Sincerely, Rebecca Duong 10000 North Eldridge Pkwy #521 Houston, TX 77065 Cell: 713-245-0700 rebecca_duong@yahoo.com Dr. William Allan Kritsonis Professor& Dissertation Chairperson PhD Program in Educational Leadership Prairie View A & M University The Texas A & M University System Prairie View, TX williamkritsonis@yahoo.com

147 Appendix D Letter Requesting Permission To Participants

Dear Study Participant, I am conducting a study as part of the requirements of the doctoral program of the division of Educational Leadership at Prairie View A & M University. The focus of this study is the identification of school and individual factors perceived by eighth grade Hispanic Limited English Proficient students, as positively influencing their academic achievement. Your participation is voluntary and completion of this survey indicates your willingness to participate. Your responses will be completely confidential. After completion of the survey, tabulation of data and summarization the results will be conducted. I will be pleased to provide you with the summary of the findings. Thank you for your participation.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Duong 10000 North Eldridge Pkwy #521 Houston, TX 77065 Cell: 713-245-0700 rebecca_duong@yahoo.com Dr. William Allan Kritsonis Professor& Dissertation Chairperson PhD Program in Educational Leadership Prairie View A & M University The Texas A & M University System Prairie View, TX williamkritsonis@yahoo.com

148 Estimado Participante, Estoy conduciendo un estudio como parte de los requerimientos del programa del Doctorado del Departamento de Liderazgo Educacional de la Universidad Prairie View A & M. El tema de este estudio es la identificación de escuelas y factores individuales adquiridos por estudiantes del octavo grado que participan en el programa Hispano de Inglés Limitado, como una positiva influencia en su aprovechamiento académico. Su participación es voluntaria y al completar esta encuesta nos indica su interés en participar. Sus respuestas serán completamente confidenciales. Después de que se complete la información de esta encuesta, se conducirá un recuento de los resultados obtenidos. Con mucho gusto compartiré con ustedes el resultado de la encuesta. Cualquier pregunta acerca de la encuesta llevada a cabo será dirigida a Dr. Marcia C. Shelton (Research Compliance Officer). Gracias por su participación.

Sinceramente,

Rebecca Duong 10000 North Eldridge Pkwy #521 Houston, TX 77065 Cell: 713-245-0700 rebecca_duong@yahoo.com

Dr. William Allan Kritsonis Professor& Dissertation Chairperson PhD Program in Educational Leadership Prairie View A & M University The Texas A & M University System Prairie View, TX williamkritsonis@yahoo.com

149 Dear Study Participant, I am conducting a study as part of the requirements of the doctoral program of the division of Educational Leadership at Prairie View A & M University. The focus of this study is the identification of school and individual factors perceived by eighth grade Hispanic Limited English Proficient students, as positively influencing their academic achievement. You were selected to participate in the survey. Your participation is voluntary and completion of this survey indicates your willingness to participate. Your responses will be completely confidential. After completion of the survey, tabulation of data and summarization the results will be conducted. I will be pleased to provide you with the summary of the findings. Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey. Should you decline to participate or decide not to complete the survey you are free to do so without penalty. Any questions about the survey process may be directed to me, Dr. Kritsonis (Dissertation Chairperson). Your signature below indicates consent: _________________________________________ Printed Name _________________________________________ Signature Sincerely, Rebecca Duong 10000 North Eldridge Pkwy #521 Houston, TX 77065 Cell: 713-245-0700 rebecca_duong@yahoo.com ____________________ Date ___________________ Date

Dr. William Allan Kritsonis Professor& Dissertation Chairperson PhD Program in Educational Leadership Prairie View A & M University The Texas A & M University System Prairie View, TX williamkritsonis@yahoo.com

150 Estimado Participante, Estoy conduciendo un estudio como parte de los requerimientos del programa del Doctorado del Departamento de Liderazgo Educacional de la Universidad Prairie View A & M. El tema de este estudio es la identificación de escuelas y factores individuales adquiridos por estudiantes del octavo grado que participan en el programa Hispano de Inglés Limitado, como una positiva influencia en su aprovechamiento académico. Usted fué seleccionado en participar en esta encuesta. Su participación es voluntaria y al completar esta encuesta nos indica su cooperación para participar. Sus respuestas serán completamente confidenciales. Después de haber completado la información en esta encuesta,se conducirá un recuento de los resultados recabados . Con mucho gusto compartiré con ustedes los resultados que se encontraron. Gracias por tomarse el tiempo de completar esta encuesta. Si usted decidide en no participar al completar esta encuesta, usted lo puede hacer, esto no le causará ningún problema. Cualquier pregunta que usted tenga puede ser dirigida a Dr. Marcia C. Shelton (Research Compliance Officer). Su firma de abajo nos indica su consentimiento: _________________________________________ Nombre en letra de Imprenta _________________________________________ Firma ____________________ Fecha ___________________ Fecha

Sinceramente, Rebecca Duong 10000 North Eldridge Pkwy #521 Houston, TX 77065 Cell: 713-245-0700 rebecca_duong@yahoo.com Dr. William Allan Kritsonis Professor& Dissertation Chairperson PhD Program in Educational Leadership Prairie View A & M University The Texas A & M University System Prairie View, TX williamkritsonis@yahoo.com

151 Appendix E Letter Requesting Permission From Participant’s Parents/Guardians

Dear Parent/Guardian: Your son/daughter ________________________________________________ has been selected to participate in a study on factors that he/she considers important for his/her academic success. Ms. Rebecca Duong will conduct this study that consists of a questionnaire and an essay response. All students whose parents approve the survey will answer the questionnaire. The survey will take approximately 20-30 minutes. The answers to the questionnaire will provide important information for a report on the academic achievement of eighth grade Hispanic students. However, at no point will your child be identified. His/her answers will be reported by percentages only. If you give permission for your son/daughter to participate, please sign in on the following page and return the signed letter to the school. Keep the attached copy of this letter for your records. If you need more information, please call Ms. Rebecca Duong at 713-245-0700, or any questions about the survey process may be directed to Dr. Marcia C. Shelton (Research Compliance Officer). Thank you for your kind consideration to this request.

Sincerely, Rebecca Duong 10000 North Eldridge Pkwy #521 Houston, TX 77065 Cell: 713-245-0700 rebecca_duong@yahoo.com

152 PLEASE SIGN BELOW:

_______Yes, I give permission to my son/ daughter to participate in the study. _______No, I do not give permission for my son/daughter to participate in the study.

Name ____________________________________________

Signature _________________________________________ Date ______________________

153 Estimado Padre/Tutor: Su hijo/hija ________________________________________________ ha sido seleccionado en participar en un estudio de factores que el/ella pueden considerar importantes para el éxito académico de el/ella. Rebecca Duong conducirá este studio que consiste en un custionario y corto exámen de fácil respuestas. Todos los estudiantes quienes los padres aprueben esta encuesta contestarán este cuestionario. La encuesta tomará aproximadamente de 20-30 minutos. Las respuestas del cuestionario nos darán importante información para el reporte académico de los estudiantes hispanos del octavo grado. Sin embargo, estas respuestas que se recopilen no identificarán al estudiante. Las respuestas serán reportadas solamente por porcentajes. Si usted le da permiso a su hijo/hija en participar, por favor firme en la siguiente página, y regresa la carta firmada a la escuela. Guarde la copia adjunta de esta carta para sus récords. Si usted necesita más información, por favor llame a la Srita. Rebecca Duong al 713-245-0700, o si tiene alguna pregunta acerca del proceso de la encuesta por favor dirijase a Dr. Marcia C. Shelton (Research Compliance Officer). Gracias por su amable consideración a esta encuesta.

Sinceramente, Rebecca Duong 10000 North Eldridge Pkwy #521 Houston, TX 77065 Cell: 713-245-0700 rebecca_duong@yahoo.com

154 PLEASE SIGN BELOW:

_______Si, Doy mi permiso a mi hijo/a de participar en en studio. _______No, No doy permiso a mi hijo/a de participar en este studio.

Nombre ____________________________________________

Firma _________________________________________ Fecha ______________________

155 Vita

REBECCA HOA DUONG 10,000 North Eldridge Pkwy #521 Houston, TX 77056

EDUCATIONAL HISTORY Prairie View A&M University Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership Prairie View A&M University Master of Educational Administration University of Houston Bachelor of Science Interdisciplinary Studies June 2006-current July 2003-August 2005 July 1992-May1996

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY 2008-PRESENT 2005-2008 2004-2005 2002-2004 1996-2002 Principal, Hall Career Academy, Aldine ISD, Houston Assistant Principal, Plummer Middle School, Aldine ISD, Houston Language Arts Skills Specialist, Smith Academy, Aldine ISD Houston Language Arts/History Teacher, Smith Academy, Aldine ISD Houston Language Arts/ESL Teacher, Stehlik Intermediate, Aldine ISD, Houston

156 PUBLICATION The Lamar University Electronic Journal of Student Research: The Effects of Teacher Efficacy on the Academic Achievement of 9th Grade ESL Students in Texas AWARDS RECEIVED Teacher of the Year Asian American Professionals 1999 2004

INTEREST AND ACTIVITIES Member of American Association School Administrators Converse in Vietnamese and teach English to Vietnamese-speakers LANGUAGES English, Vietnamese

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful