CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN SAN ANTONIO SCHOOLS

LITERATURE REVIEW

The current research aimed at examining the performance of Hispanic students within American classrooms is quite extensive. In particular, this research has been conducted by a number of reputable organizations, such as universities and other educational institutions, assessment institutions, and even the government. As such, much of this research has provided compelling quantitative information that can be used to establish where the performance of Hispanic students falls with regard to English language literacy when compared to students of other racial/ethnic background. For example, one study conducted by ACT Inc. outlines the Hispanic students graduating from high school in 2012 across the nation. The report indicates that only 10% of Latino graduates in the United States in 2012 exhibited the necessary skills to be prepared for higher education.

Importantly, a number of research studies have been conducted on the topic of Latino academic performance in recent years, studies that provide both quantitative and qualitative findings and results. According to one such study, the level of academic performance among Latino students is not completely consistent across the United States. Rather, statistical data has emerged that indicates Latino academic performance is higher in certain states and lower in others. The states that appear to reflect the lowest academic performance among their Latino population include California and Texas. The low academic performance among Hispanic students within the United States is reflected in the findings of several prevalent studies. In a 2013 study Lesaux sought to determine the level of proficiency that children exhibited in reading among students in the 8th grade. The results of this study revealed that only 18% of hispanic students in the 8th grade are reading at appropriate proficiency level. It is important to note that this same study indicated that African American students demonstrated even lower proficiency levels, totalling only 11%. Further, the proficiency level demonstrated by 8th grade students from within these minority groups was far below that observed among their caucasian peers.

Although it appears apparent that a disparity does in fact exist among Hispanic students in the United States, it is unclear at this point why the disparity exists. In particular, there are a number of reasons outlined in the research that seek to explain why academic performance is not consistent among Latino students throughout the United States. A number of studies, for example, postulate that the states that see the lowest level of Latino academic performance are also the states that hold the largest Latino populations, which include a significant amoung of recently naturalized citizens or illegal aliens from Mexico. As such, researchers contend that this mixture of Latino population negatively effects the average level of academic performance among Latinos in these areas. Another reason that has been explored in recent years, and not just with regard to Latino students, is the role that parents play within the educational process of their children. In particular, a number of studies posit that greater levels of parental involvement in the education of their child tend to result in increased academic performance of the child in the future. There appears to be a significant barrier that Latino students face in this regard as many Latino families within heavily populated Hispanic states are comprised of one or both parents that have not finished high school, and even some that cannot read, write, or speak English at all. This indicates that for many Latino students, parental involvement in their academic studies is not possible, yet it is unclear at this point to what extent this lack of involvement will actually have on the Latino student’s performance.

What is clear is that Latino students have exhibited higher levels of academic performance in other areas throughout the United States, such as Oregon, Washington, Ohio, and New Hampshire, than the levels achieved by Latino students in states with large Hispanic populations, such as California and Texas. As a result, it can be argued that the prevailing literature appears to indicate that Latino student performance does lag behind that of other ethnic groups on the national level. In addition, this disparity in academic performance appears to vary depending upon the locality of the student, indicating that certain states in the U. S. yield higher levels of academic performance from Latino students, while others see much lower levels. As such, the academic research presented in this section helps to establish a solid basis of comparison by which data from the individual state and city levels will be compared. Doing so will enable this researcher to determine if the characteristics exhibited by Latino students on the national level are similar to those found among the lower levels of consideration.

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