Improving the Education of Hispanic English Language Learners: Examining Educational Resilience and Effective Instructional Practices
This dissertation includes empirical studies of educational achievement and resilience of Hispanic ELL. The dataset used is the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort and Birth Cohort. In the first study, we investigated whether there were differences of instructional practices between ELLs and non-ELLs and the type of classrooms they attended. A 2-way ANOVA indicated ELLs were being exposed more often to teacher-directed, whole-classroom instruction than non-ELLs. In respect to classroom types, the results from this study suggest that student-selected activities and amount of workbook and media instruction differed significantly. The multiple regression results indicated that teacher-directed, small-group instruction, use of workbooks, and 3rd-grade reading achievement significantly (p < .05) influence the ELLs 5th-grade achievement. The second study focused on the 5th-grade mathematics achievement of Hispanic ELLs, Hispanic non-ELLs, and White non-ELLs. The findings of this study indicate that 5th -grade students are receiving more teacher-directed, whole-class instruction and using more mathematics worksheets. Student-selected activities and the use of computers are being used the least. The results also indicate that the use of textbooks or worksheets and computers for solving mathematics problems significantly (p less than .05) influence ELLs' mathematic achievement. Our study also revealed that third-grade mathematics achievement directly impacts the student's fifth-grade achievement. Furthermore, Hispanic ELLs learned more when exposed to blackboards and overheads for solving problems. The final study analyzed the resilience and academic achievement of preschool Hispanic students. The MANOVA results indicated the resilient group had a more active home learning environment, greater socioeconomic status, higher cognitive scores, and higher parental expectations. These studies emphasize the need of future research to include longitudinal studies of Hispanic, ELLs from Preschool through upper-level grades to investigate (a) resilience development, patterns, and changes, (b) consistency and variance of effective instructional practices in different types of classroom, and (c) development of achievement in mathematics and reading. Hispanic ELLs face many educational challenges, but the three studies reported here suggest that promoting resilience and implementing effective instructional practices may increase Hispanic ELLs academic achievement as well as positively enhance their home and school environment. The educational and policy implications of our studies suggest more student-centered instruction is needed in the classrooms because not enough effective instruction is being implemented in diverse classrooms. Our findings also suggest that classrooms and policies should focus on early intervention and prevention fostering resilient characteristics, as well as consistent and effective instructional practices.