Date of Award

6-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Louie F. Rodriguez

Abstract

Many researchers have attempted to identify best practices, habits, and conditions of English Language Learners (ELs, ELLs) pertaining to school success. It is clear EL students pose unique and significant challenges, yet unclear what strategies and program models educators can implement to motivate learning, improve educational experiences, and appropriately acknowledge and reward these learners’ accomplishments. Few studies have attempted to determine the difficulties and challenges associated with academic success and probability of graduation for Late-entry English Learners (LEELs), defined as those entering the school system as eighth-through-twelfth grade students. Their test scores weigh heavily on high-stakes standardized testing accountability measures. Late-entry ELs are often shortchanged when it comes to resources and teachers. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing reports nearly 7500 teachers currently teaching EL students without proper authorization as there simply are not enough teachers to meet the need. This study will give LEELs a voice to describe their educational experiences and perceptions of pertinent hurdles. They will share recommendations of best practices for Late-entry ELs and for the administrators and educators who serve them. The study draws attention to LEEL experiences, honoring them, while informing educational leaders regarding practices that may alleviate educational obstacles. Additionally, the study seeks to ascertain the best way to foster academic success for LEELs. This research is valuable as EL populations continue to grow in California and across the nation.