A Retrospective Interview Study of Immigrant Students and Their Success in International Baccalaureate English / Literacy

Open Access
Mcdonald, Brian Thomas
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 12, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Anne Whitney, Dissertation Advisor
  • Rose Mary Zbiek, Committee Chair
  • Edith Frances Arbaugh, Committee Member
  • Matthew Edward Poehner, Committee Member
  • Madhu Suri Prakash, Special Member
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Curriculum
  • Instruction
  • English Language Learners
  • Latinos
I interviewed six former students who were in enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program in an urban high school in south central Pennsylvania. The purpose of the study was to understand their resiliency, motivation, and determination for academic success. This study also contributes to existing literature on English language arts education of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the United States by exploring factors to which these high achieving students attribute success. As scholars have pointed out, these marginalized students and many other Latino students are not expected to succeed much less earn admissions to any college / university. However, this study shows how student success is dependent on support from parents, family, friends, and teachers. Furthermore, my work addresses the issues of teacher practice, English as a Second Language curriculum, and student preparation in academic work and beyond.