Factors contributing to the academic achievement of Hispanic limited English proficient high school students

Ana Maria Mistral, Fordham University


The purpose of this investigation was to study school and individual factors that high school students perceived as important to their academic achievement, and a possible relation between this perceived importance and their academic achievement. The school factors selected were school climate, classroom environment, and language of instruction. The individual factors were achievement motivation and social goals. The participants in the study were 125 Hispanic LEP students enrolled in grades 10, 11, and 12 in two high schools of an urban district. Their age ranged from 14 to 20 years of age. All participants were receiving bilingual and ESL instructional services in a bilingual program. The researcher designed a questionnaire and a two-part essay question for data collection. Academic achievement data were obtained from students' records. Several subroutines of the SPSS software were used to identify relations between school and individual variables, and student academic achievement. These analyses rendered no statistically significant correlations. The two-part essay question was analyzed qualitatively and the responses produced a wealth of information on perceived school and individual factors and their relation to academic achievement. The conclusions of the study were: (1) Students across levels of achievement perceived school safety, participation in school life, feeling valued by school staff, and school beliefs as very important to their academic achievement. (2) Participants regarded communication with students and teachers answering challenging questions, studying topics in depth, and applying learning in life outside school as important factors in the classroom and related to their academic achievement. (3) Participants viewed their bilingual and ESL teachers as facilitators of student learning and as student advocates. (4) Participants' motivation to go to school was based on their belief that education was the means to attain employment, the respect of others, and economic advancement. (5) Participants perceived friends as influential in helping or interfering with the participants' goals.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Secondary education|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Mistral, Ana Maria, "Factors contributing to the academic achievement of Hispanic limited English proficient high school students" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9923438.