Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kim Nisbett


Hispanic middle school students in Southeast Texas were scoring below their peers on the Texas standardized reading exam, and the study site was placed on the Texas Education Agency needs improvement list. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to identify the perceptions of reading teachers and administrators regarding Hispanic students’ low reading achievement. Cummins’ empowerment of minority students formed the conceptual framework that guided this study. The research question focused on the teacher and administrator perceptions about low reading achievement of Hispanic students in grades 7-8. A basic qualitative design was used to capture the insights of 3 middle school teachers and 3 middle school administrators through semi-structured interviews; a purposeful sampling process was used to select the participants. Emergent themes were identified through open coding, and the findings were developed and checked for trustworthiness through member checking, rich descriptions, and triangulation. The findings revealed that administrators and teachers recognize a gap in reading performance between limited English proficient Hispanic students and non-English as a second language Hispanic students, that language barriers are prevalent, and that instructional interventions are needed. A professional development project was created to provide teachers with strategies and approaches for working with Hispanic students. This study has implications for positive social change by creating a structure to provide teachers with strategies to improve reading performance of Hispanic students.