Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Jose W. Lalas, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Joe Castano, Ph.D.

Christopher Hunt, Ed.D.


cultural capital, student engagement, Hispanic English Language Learners


Education | Educational Leadership


Students throughout the nation are continually becoming more diverse each year, but the achievement gaps between Hispanic ELLs and Caucasian students continue to stay disproportional (National Center for Education Statistics, 2011). All students deserve access to a well-rounded education that utilizes their individual culture and perspective as a foundation for educational success. However, those students whose first language is other than English face a distinctive challenge. Over the years, Hispanic English Language Learners (ELLs) have been behind their non-Hispanic counterparts in graduation rates. This current research looked at the causes of low student achievement amongst Hispanic ELL students. Specifically, it looked to address cultural capital, access to it, and its effect on student engagement, which results in low academic achievement. This study contributed to the understanding of Hispanic ELLs, perceived through Bourdieu’s (1986) theoretical framework in the context of education. This study provided qualitative data regarding student engagement and cultural capital in an effort to enhance educational goals and to improve school readiness projection for graduation and college opportunities for Hispanic ELLs.


© 2015 Silvia Guzman

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781339061580