Educators' Perceptions of a Successful English Language Learner Program

Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Celeste Stansberry


Across the nation, many school districts are challenged to improve the academic achievement of English language learners (ELLs). In a small district in Ohio approximately 86% of the ELLs passed the state Annual Measurable Objectives in reading and mathematics, however, 14% of ELL students are not meeting targeted objectives. The purpose of this study was to examine the pedagogical success of an ELL instructional program through the perspectives of the teachers, principals, and administrators in the local district. Using Rose's and Meyer's theory of the universal design for learning and the state's scaffolding framework of assessment, placement and intervention, this case study investigated the factors of effectiveness that participants felt best explained the success of the ELL program. The purposeful sample comprised 4 teachers, 2 principals, and 2 central office administrators. The research included data collected using 8 individual interviews, 1 group interview, 3 classroom observations, and document reviews. Data were coded and analyzed to reveal common themes and perceptions. Findings revealed that participants believed their efforts to develop relevant course content motivated the students to learn a new language, the application of the principles of the universal design for learning improved teachers' pedagogical practices, and the participants placed a priority on creating positive student and family relationships to encourage language learning. The findings can promote positive social change by advancing teachers' capacity to apply supportive practices and educators' efforts to improve the academic achievement of ELLs by implementing effective programs that motivate students to acquire adequate language skills.

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