Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Adriana Alvarado, Ph.D

Committee Members

Nicol Howard, Ph.D

Jared Rodrigues, Ph.D


English Learners, reclassified, rigorous math courses, high school, success and access


Educational Leadership | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Elementary Education | Secondary Education


This study focused on access and successful completion of A-G math courses for English Learner (EL) students. Access and success rates in A-G math courses for current and former ELs from six districts were analyzed, including how the rates vary by EL levels and time of reclassification. Relevant literature was reviewed, including state guidance for EL reclassification, tracking and placement, scholarship about EL access to rigorous coursework related to the English requirement for college, access to advanced courses, and math serving as a gatekeeper to more rigorous math courses and college access. This study focused on two research questions 1) How is the classification level of current and former English Learners related to their access to and success in rigorous (A-G approved) math courses in high school? 2) How does this vary by EL level and time of reclassification? The results of the study were analyzed through Bourdieu’s cultural capital framework and it was ascertained that EL students’ accessed and succeeded in A-G math courses at significantly lower rates than RFEP students. While higher level EL students accessed rigorous math courses at a higher rate than lower level EL students, success in these courses was not related to EL level. The results of the study further indicated that third and fourth grades are critical grades for reclassification as related to experiencing success in rigorous math courses. Based on the results, five recommendations for addressing these inequities are offered follow by ideas for future research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.