Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


M. Ramey


In a Southern California junior high school, 12% of the seventh grade class including 30% of the Hispanics enrolled failed to earn 47.5 credits required for promotion to the eighth grade. Probable causes of the failure rate included (a) low teacher expectations for Hispanic and other perceived low-achieving students, (b) instructional practices that failed to actively involve and motivate low-achievers, and (c) lack of awareness and understanding of cultural differences and the needs of Hispanic students. As an intervention strategy, interdisciplinary teams of English, mathematics, and social studies teachers participated in staff development programs designed to increase awareness and understanding of low-achieving students. Instructional techniques for providing response opportunities, feedback, and personal regard for all students, especially those with cultural and language differences, were included. Skills were practiced, observed, and recorded in peer observations following each workshop. Increases in positive interactions between participants and low-achieving students were expected to improve academic performances and reduce the percentage of students who failed to meet credit requirements. As a result or the intervention, the percentage of seventh grade students at Placerita Junior High School who earn fewer than 47.5 credits during the seventh grade year was reduced by 35.7%, and the percentage of Hispanic students was reduced by 35.1%. The frequency of positive interactions between teachers and low-achieving students increased, and discipline referrals to the office diminished by 50%.

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