Date Awarded

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James H Stronge

Committee Member

Michael F DiPaola

Committee Member

Leslie W Grant


With immigration at record levels, public schools are educating an increasing number of English Language Learners who are less academically successful. There is a dearth of research on academically successful former ELL students. The purpose of this study was to identify the shared schooling experiences, shared success factors, and shared inhibiting factors of former ELL students enrolled in AP and IB coursework at the high school level. This phenomenological study used structured student and teacher interviews as well as classroom observations for the generation and collection of data. Seven students participated in this study. This study found that former ELL students experienced positive teacher-student relationships, high expectations, teacher clarity, academic support networks, and course selection coaching at the middle school level. Participants also shared success factors to include high levels of success expectancy, school engagement, and early family support. Student inhibiting factors were related to low levels of school-family engagement at the high school level, course tracking, and threshold English language development. Student academic networks, explicit vocabulary instruction, and participation in extracurricular activities increased the acculturation of ELL students thus enabled them to access the college prep curriculum. This study found that teacher practice and school programs provided ELL and former ELL students with more positive academic trajectories.



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