The relationship between educational decisions and academic achievement: A focus on Mexican American students




Fernandez, Mary Ruth

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This study explores the complexities of decisions made by educational teams and the relationship of those decisions to the achievement of Mexican American students considered at risk. To date no research has examined the outcomes of team decisions made on behalf of Mexican American students who have been considered for or provided with special education services. This study examines the relationship between the decisions made in response to educational progress in one or more of these areas of concern: reading, writing, speaking, listening, language, learning or behavior and the students' academic achievement. A sequential explanatory mixed method research design (Creswell, 2003) was selected because it allowed the researcher to achieve three goals. First, to explore how the decisions documented on the Educational Decision Inventory (EDI) associate with levels of achievement, second, to examine how the features of the team composition and process assist to explain student achievement and third to examine the factors that teams routinely use as they make decision about referrals and placement. Twenty-three student records were reviewed and eleven educators were interviewed. The results of the quantitative portion of the study suggest that language matches, educational placement and special services scattered typical to a much larger than typical association to grade point average, meeting TAKS reading standards and grade advancement. The results of the qualitative portion provided explanations of the challenges teams face as they make decisions regarding problems that Mexican American students have with learning in the classroom.


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bilingualism, educational teams, pre-referral, response to intervention



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies