Date of Award


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Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of the study was to identify and analyze strategies used by successful, goal-oriented Hispanic high school students. This study sought to suggest ways that school personnel can be more deliberate and effective in promoting these strategies to increase the number of Hispanic students attending college. It sought to explore the impact of social class, income, and teacher expectations on mobility for Hispanic high school students. A survey was conducted on one hundred twenty-one Hispanic high school students who attended the 1988 Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Conference. Interviews used a retrospective format. The overall approach for the study was ethnographic, since it provided greater opportunity to generate observations. Ogbu's (1986) minority typology identifying minorities as caste, immigrant, or autonomous was adapted and used to analyze and explain variations in the sample. The study identified four dominant themes that were mobility strategies for these students. The first strategy was shared values, i.e. believing that success was possible for them and that education was a means to obtaining that success. Second, the students all identified a period of time when they made their decision to achieve. For the lower income and lower class student, school personnel had a major impact on this decision to achieve. Last, these students all had strategies for avoiding distractions and managing the demands of school life that enabled them to stay focused on their goal. The study found that class, culture, and school do affect mobility. The lower the class and income, the more difficult the mobility process. The minority typology adopted in this study was useful for describing within group differences among Hispanics. Autonomous students are those whose parents' education and family income levels are in the middle to upper class range. Immigrant students are foreign born or have foreign born parents, and income levels range in the lower to middle class range. Caste students are born in the United States and parents' education and income levels are underclass or lower class. Teachers and counselors need to be aware of the critical importance they have in the lives of caste students. Caste students are the most at-risk of not having a challenging curriculum nor mentors who hold high expectations for their learning potential. They can be influenced by positive teacher expectations, such as high track placement, and mentoring relationships. In addition, community leaders and parents must step in and promote high academic standards for Hispanics, especially when peer pressure not to excel in school exists.



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