Exploring the perspectives of inner city Hispanic high school students in regard to their academic success or failure
Base upon the perspectives of Hispanic inner-city high school students of poverty, this study explored why some students are academically successful and graduate from high school while others from similar circumstances maintain a near-failing or failing grade point average and eventually drop out of school. Data were gathered from eight subjects---four who were academically successful, and four who were academically unsuccessful and dropped out of high school. The subjects were students currently attending Denver Public Schools (DPS), recent graduates, or dropouts from DPS.The researcher utilized naturalistic inquiry or qualitative research, specifically, a case study approach focusing on the long interview as discussed by McCracken (1989) and personal narratives as suggested by Riessman (1993). These interviews were corroborated by an investigation of school records and other documents as suggested by school counselors.Three major themes emerged from the research. The factors that most affected the academic success or failure of the students were: (1) the presence or lack of a nurturing environment, particularly the parental influence, (2) the impact of peers, both positive and negative, and (3) the subjects' resilience or lack thereof, to adverse conditions, including poverty.A nurturing environment was created by supportive adults, such as teachers and parents, who provided ongoing support, listened to the students, set high expectations, and provided a physically and mentally safe environment. The impact of peers comprised extracurricular activities, the effects of moving on peer involvement and their sense of connectedness, and peer pressure that influenced academic progress. Resilience to adversity was evidenced by self-confidence, efficacy, independence, critical thinking skills, and the ability to learn from successes and failures, as well as a positive view of the future, with a sense of purpose, hope, and humor.
- Education - Seattle