Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Timothy Rodriguez


Increasing numbers of English-language learners (ELLs) with limited literacy skills in middle schools have resulted in a high percentage of long-term English-language learners (LTELLs). The problem of LTELLs, ELLs who have attended school in the United States for more than 6 years and have not met the state ESL exit criteria, is addressed in this study. Cummins' concept of second language acquisition and Vygotsky's zone of proximal development theoretical frameworks were used in this qualitative case study to explore the perceptions of 6 Title I middle school teachers. The purpose of this study was to explore middle school teachers' perceptions of LTELLs and their impact on classroom instruction. The research questions investigated how middle school teachers perceived the limited literacy skills among LTELLs and respectively how middle school teachers perceived the effect of LTELLs on their classroom instruction. Data were collected through interviews and document analysis, and analyzed with descriptive analytical techniques Findings from the data indicated that middle school teachers' misconceptions about LTELLs, a lack of knowledge of LTELL and second language acquisition, and a lack of linguistic support, contributed to the limited literacy skills among LTELLs. The resulting project, a white paper, focused on recommendations for the stakeholders on how to address the issue of limited literacy skills among LTELLs. This study's contribution to social change includes a better understanding of LTELLs and their learning needs, as well as addressing teachers' misconceptions about LTELLs and second language acquisition. The results and recommendations provide suggestions that, if implemented, may improve ELLs' academic achievement and reduce the number of LTELLs.