Term Paper: Educational Leadership in Latino Students

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[. . .] Limitations

Barriers to this study include the willingness of people to participate in qualitative or quantitative research related to the importance of teacher expectation. Some teachers and educational facilities within the U.S. are likely to be reluctant to participate in the study as they are not willing to divulge extraneous information related to teaching practices. Undoubtedly a minority will be short of time. The study is also limited in scope to primarily schools within the LA county school district. It is possible that students in other regions may be affected in a slightly different manner.

DEFINITIONS

Tracking - The practice of sorting students into different programs of study based on their perceived academic ability. Often used synonymously with 'ability grouping' or 'homogenous grouping' (Datnow, 1998)

Curriculum Differentiation - often used synonymously with tracking, to describe the practice of segregating groups or populations of students based on perceived academic ability.

IQ - Intelligence Quotient

SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Test

AP - Advanced Placement

LAUSD - Los Angeles Unified School District

Carino- a demonstration of affection commonly utilized in the Latino community, characterized verbally through endearments such as mijo/a (my son/daughter), papito (little daddy), and mi amor (my love). Carino is sometimes also expressed through touch and facial expression.

Responsive Teaching - Method whereby teaching methodology is individualized and more responsive to a student's unique progress. Teaching subsequently stimulates and engages students in a proactive manner.

Corrective Feedback - technique of teaching whereby teachings teachers respond to individual needs of students

Floors - minimally acceptable achievement and educational standards

CHAPTER II

LITERATURE REVIEW

This study examines the idea the notion that a positive correlation exists between teacher expectation and student performance. The review will examine historical and statistical data related to teacher expectation and curriculum models on performance, specifically as related to minority and the Latino population. The study will also examine case studies where student performance was or is affected by expectation and tracking programs. Additionally, reforms and programs targeted toward improvement will be evaluated for their efficacy and relevance. The aim of this study is to not only uncover expectation obstacles that Latino students face, but also attempt to assess whether readily realizable solutions are available for students and teachers alike.

In a formative study conducted by Rist (1970), kindergarten students, first and second grade children in a poor, black, urban school were examined to assess to what extent teachers decided their students' academic potential. Teachers very often utilize initial judgments and perceptions when ranking students according to their perceived ability and potential for success. Very often these perceptions are not based on sound scientific analysis, but rather circumstance and assumption.

Rist discovered that subjective judgments made regarding the academic ability of the children and the subsequent "tracks" or academic curricula they were placed on reflected not their true abilities, but rather the non-academic characteristics placed on them, such as the children's physical appearance, interactive behavior, use of language and known social status. Teachers had a tendency to place students within three seating arrangements that corresponded to their expected level of performance.

Once students were labeled, a "self-fulfilling prophecy" began to operate within the classroom. Performances of students placed in certain groups met teacher expectations; students for example, who were placed in the accelerated learning group generally performed at a high level, whereas students placed in slower groups performed correspondingly slower or at a reduced pace. Unfortunately, the study showed that this may not be a temporary condition.

In this particular instance, the placement created by the kindergarten teacher continued throughout elementary school. Thus, regardless of their true ability, children who were initially placed in the lower group were labeled as 'slow learners' and were likely to stay in this group for the remainder of their educational life.

In a similar study, Oakes (1985) found that intelligent quotient (IQ) scores of senior high school students decreased when they were put into lower categories of educational study. When track placements and student background characteristics were considered together, a trend indicated that poor and minority students were often disproportionately placed in low-ability or non-college bound tracks, and were also under-represented in programs reserved for gifted and talented students (Oakes, 1986). One explanation of why it might be difficult for those placed in low tracks or labeled as "slow learners" to increase social mobility is provided by Madon, et al. (1997, p. 805): "research shows that, in comparison to lows, teachers interact more with highs, are friendlier to highs, prepare more for highs, and provide highs with greater opportunity to learn and display knowledge."

Teacher expectations were also examined by Sadker & Sadker (1994). Their research reveals that teachers were more likely to call on boys than girls, and to take more time responding to questions that were generated from boys than from girls. Interestingly, in this circumstance girls were considered equals to boys related to academic achievement in early years of schooling despite this deficiency. However, at the end of high school, girls scored lower in both achievement and self-esteem. The study showed that girls also performed much lower on standardized college entrance examinations such as the SAT.

These lower schools tended to lead to lower numbers of scholarship opportunities and career opportunities or girls.

Sadker & Sadker thus argued that girls do not receive equivalent educational opportunities when compared to their male counterparts.

Expectations of a student's ability also relate psychologically to a child's ability to develop a healthy self-concept. Shavelson, Hubner and Stanton (1976) report that self-concept often develops in the early stages of life, and is influenced in particular by environmental reinforcements and significant others (defined as parents and teachers), and is "altered very little over the course of time."

From a systemic point-of-view, studies that have analyzed the impact of social class and parental education on educational attainment have time and time again revealed that offspring of parents with higher class status and higher levels of education do better academically than those in lower classes or with lower education levels (Arellano & Padilla, 1996; Bowles & Gintis, 1976; Egerton, 1997; Nakhaie & Curtis, 1998). This status in and of itself indicates that the Latino population may be at a disadvantage, as proportionately larger numbers are living in lower socio-demographic conditions. One explanation that was given for this noted discrepancy and disadvantage was that individuals in higher status groups generally have a higher 'cultural capital.'

Low achievement and low self-concept can be improved by encouraging and positive interactions with teachers, including an expressed interest in a student's progress, or the ability of teachers to engage students in faculty research projects (Madon et. al, 1997; Nagda et. al, 1998; Page, 1997). Undergraduate students take advantage of opportunities offered by colleges depending upon the differential cultural capital they bring with them. The way in which students are labeled and treated by faculty members significantly impacts a students potential for success, and likelihood for initiating further successful and promising contacts.

Students are also more likely to seek out interactions when they have specifically been socialized to seek out such relations early on. Socializing children early enables them to better 'play the game' and continue to gain a competitive advantage later on during their academic careers. Students that do not self initiate social interactions, whether from low self-concept ideals resulting from low expectations or self-fulfilling prophecies, are generally not going to receive the same benefits that those students who do will. For example, the inability to maintain and initiate positive relationships could inhibit a decision to continue on to graduate school.

Faculty have the ability to enhance their positions as "gatekeepers," through informal interaction with students, and influence who gets into graduate school by controlling the social and academic integration of graduate students by allocating assistant-ships and provide opportunities to work on research projects or attend professional meetings, even co-author manuscripts (Clark & Garza, 1994; Margolis & Romero, 1998). Thus, one may adequately conclude that students who interact more are better able to enter the "inner circles" of academia, as opposed to those who do not interact and who are left shut out. Teacher expectation is the initial point of contact that leads to this eventual success or failure.

A majority of urban schools currently serve minorities such as the Latino population, and are generally more vulnerable to society's preconceptions of biases regarding race and ethnicity, income & class. Many school districts within the nation are intervening, and attempting to take an active role in addressing low performance. Some examples of this are the Cross City Campaign, which has focused on equity and accountability since school reform leaders from Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Seattle first founded the organization in 1993.

Bibliography

Eden, D. (1990). Pygmalion in management: Productivity as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company

Smith, A.E., Jussim, L., & Eccles, J. (1999). Do self-fulfilling prophecies accumulate, dissipate, or remain stable over time? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(3), 548-565.

Madon, S., Jussim, L.,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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