Date of Conferral







Peter M. Lownds


Research shows academic literacy is a challenge for students classified as Long-Term English Language Learners (LTELLs). In the pseudonymous Windy Desert School District (WDSD), there are 17,365 students classified as LTELLs. Of these students, the majority are falling short of English academic literacy goals on the Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs) test and 67% do not graduate from high school. This quantitative study examined the predictive relationship between ACCESS English language proficiency subscale scores in the language domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing and course semester grades in English 9, English 10, and English 11. This longitudinal study, informed by theorists Cummins and Krashen, followed a cohort of 718 Grade 9 students for 3 years (2012-2015). Of the 718, only 161 participant data sets were valid for the final ordinal logistic regression analysis. ACCESS subscale scores in speaking, listening, reading, and writing comprised the predictor variables and English course semester grades comprised the criterion variables. Results revealed that LTELLs' ACCESS subscale scores in listening, reading, and writing were significant predictors of their English course grades whereas speaking scores were not. For each predictor variable, a 1-unit increase in the predictor decreased the likelihood of receiving a lower grade in the course. Social change can result from the WDSD using ACCESS results to create and implement effective instructional programs that develop LTELLs' proficiency in the language domains found significant in predicting their academic grades, thereby increasing their language proficiency, academic grades, and graduation rates over time.