Comparing teacher perception of English language learners at the high school level: a case study of E.P.I.S.D.

Mancha, Guillermo, 1972-
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The academic achievement gap between English language learners (ELLs) and other student groups, especially at the secondary level, is a problem that only will increase as Hispanic demographics increase at state and national levels. It is imperative to examine the factors that affect or influence the academic achievement of ELLs and identify issues within the educational culture, systems, and constituents that have a negative effect on the academic performance of ELL students. This case study research examined the practices and organizational frameworks through the perspectives, or mind maps, of teachers who work with ELLs at E.P.I.S.D. in Texas. The study was guided by three research questions: (a) What is the mind map of high school teachers in producing a high-performing ELL, (b) what is the mind map of high school teachers in producing a low-performing ELL, and (c) how do these two mind maps compare with one another? Using an Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA) methodology, this study actively engaged constituents in reflective, meaningful discourse surrounding a phenomenon of interest, resulting in rich, comprehensive data that can be utilized for decision making in strategic planning and implementation of change. The IQA process and analysis served as a needs assessment technique on how to better serve ELLs.