A study to examine how Texas urban high schools promote success on college readiness standards for Latino students
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The purpose of this case study was to discover how Texas public schools promote successful college readiness standards for Latino students. The researcher defined college readiness standards as the ability to pass high school exams associated with college preparations, enroll in college preparatory course work, and graduate high school. This study needed to be conducted because college readiness standards have been continually evolving via increasingly rigorous, complex, and inconsistent measures that might not always support Latinos in graduating from high school and enrolling in a post-secondary college. In the State of Texas, there have been relatively few high schools that are able to consistently achieve high academic performance ratings for Latinos. Therefore, there was a need to investigate research-based strategies that promoted Latino secondary achievement related to college readiness standards. This study utilized interviews and data to determine why specific high schools in the State of Texas were successful in fomenting college readiness standards for Latino students. Data was collected from selected schools with academically successful Latino secondary students. Pertinent information was gathered through the investigation of factors that promoted the success of Latino secondary students in meeting college readiness standards. Organizational factors related to curriculum and instruction, teaching, programming options, alternative academic supports, and interventions were examined. This study was guided by the following research questions: 1. How do central and campus instructional leaders describe college readiness standards?; 2. What organizational processes do central office and campus instructional leaders engage in as a means to ensure that high school Latino students successfully meet or exceed college readiness standards?; and 3. How do central office and campus instructional leaders respond to high school Latino students who fail to meet college readiness standards? The findings of this study indicated there were four overarching themes which are expectations for students, accountability to a standards-based curriculum, academic programming, and access to resources. These four themes were all present in ensuring that secondary Latino students' progress towards college readiness standards. Research question one suggested stakeholders describe college readiness standards as being able to effectively plan and prepare for each student to graduate on time while being engaged in a rigorous academic programming that included passing the state EOC exams and having access to Pre-AP, AP, and dual credit coursework. The second research question showed that participants designated critical attributes associated with organizational structure and process. For example, in addressing organizational structure, the findings revealed that each campus was intentional in designing and implementing schedules that were conducive to including increased enrollment and participation in Pre-AP, AP, and dual credit courses. In addressing organizational processes, the findings identified the implementation of professional learning communities as a method for supporting targeted staff development related to aligning curriculum and instruction. Finally, the third question's findings suggested stakeholders identified response to intervention and continuous student progress monitoring as specific means in addressing the needs of Latino students who failed to meet college readiness standards. Central office and campus instructional leaders’ ability to strategize and create actionable plans following these four themes were more likely to support Latino students in meeting college readiness standards. Additional research among ESL learners was recommended to investigate strategies that proved to be effective in ensuring that Latinos who are acquiring second languages are equally inclusive in their pathway towards meeting college readiness standards.