Sustainability and Social Justice

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

David Bell

Second Reader

Laurie Ross


English Learners, academic engagement, learning experience


Drastic increases in English Learner (EL) populations in public schools have prompted districts to investigate ways to improve programs for EL students to support their academic growth. This study explores academic engagement of ELs at Chandler Magnet Elementary School to understand how student success may differ among three distinct EL programs. This study incorporated teacher and EL student interviews, however, limitations prevented this study from making conclusions about student success by program. The findings of this study reveal that student learning experience is unique and academic engagement is influenced by many factors that are not necessarily associated with the EL program in which students are enrolled. Moreover, the study highlights that EL students participate differently based on their English proficiency level, EL students are more cognitively engaged when they feel they can be successful, and relational engagement is an important factor when understanding student academic engagement.





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