"Beating the Odds": How Bi-Lingual Hispanic Youth Work through Adversity to Become High Achieving Students

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Department or Administrative Unit

Center for Teaching and Learning

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The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine characteristics of academically successful Hispanic students. Despite repeated failures and early academic difficulties, some Hispanic students continue to fight through their adversity. Some children have a positive attitude toward school although there are monumental barriers for these at-risk children. This study takes an "asset oriented" rather than a "deficit assessment" approach. The purpose was to explore and examine personal character traits of high achieving Hispanic students. It also investigated external factors, such as support systems, as well as intrinsic motivators.

The participants were selected by matching certain criteria. Each of the chosen participants was academically below grade level at some point in his/her educational career. However, at the time the study was conducted, the participants were academically at or above grade level expectations.

Information was gathered through interviews, classroom observations, and various documents. The interviews were semi-structured in nature and developed as the study evolved. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed for the most accurate information. After all data were collected, they were coded and sorted for common themes.


This article was originally published in Education.

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