Robbie Wedeen


A disproportionate number of high school dropouts are Latino immigrant students with emergent English language skills. Statistically, students that meet these demographic characteristics are more likely to drop out of high school before receiving their diploma. Thus, these same students will then enter the workforce ill equipped for job advancement or the requirements of postsecondary education. A set of negative experiences, referred to as the process of marginalization, may occur in high school, leaving these students alienated and less confident of success than their English-speaking peers. This study used a qualitative research method approach to investigate the factors that lead some high school students to drop out and others to persevere and to become academically successful. This situation was explored by trying to understand Mexican and Central American immigrant students' perceptions of and reactions to possible high school marginalization processes and how this process effects their academic success in 11th and 12th grades. More specifically, this dissertation study employed a qualitative design to develop a case study of students and a school and community profile. Several instruments used in the study included a sampling and eligibility questionnaire, a semistructured questionnaire, and an open-ended Interview with high school Latino immigrant youth to examine their perceptions of the process of marginalization and the resiliency factors that they used to overcome them. Based on the study's results, several recommendations are made for schools to reform the negative impact of marginalization and increase feelings of empowerment and inclusion for this group.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; English language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers; High school dropouts; Teenage immigrants -- Education (Secondary); High school students -- Social life and customs

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Garcia-Ramos, Reyna;