ERIC Number: ED330088
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: 0
An Ethnography of High Achieving At-Risk Hispanic Youths at Two Urban High Schools: Implications for Administrators.
Cordeiro, Paula A.
Factors for the academic success of Hispanic American students whose background profiles label them as "at-risk" are explored in this ethnographic study. Areas of focus include demographic and biographical characteristics, everyday life, group identity, and roles of primary and secondary social groups. Observation and discourse analysis of 20 high-achieving Hispanic students (10 female and 10 male) in two inner city high schools focused on their creation of a world view and strategies for goal achievement. Analysis of the data suggested two primary categories which explain the success of these students and which are described under the rubrics of "potential identity threats" and "the gauntlet.""Potential identity threats" encompasses families and neighborhoods in which non-achieving cultural themes abounded, but which were countered in each case by positive role models/significant others so that students were able to select those themes from their environments that would help them construct a Hispanic-achiever identity early in life and to evaluate negatively such non-achieving role models and groups as school dropouts and users of drugs and alcohol. "The gauntlet" is a metaphor that describes adaptive behaviors used within the school environment to achieve the goals of high school graduation and admission to college. Common strategies for achievement include English language mastery, identification with school, and conforming to traditional Anglo American norms for success, since those behaviors are rewarded. Cheating was also a prevalent behavior among participants; it was rationalized as acceptable because it increased the likelihood of doing better in school. Recommendations include providing appropriate role models, supporting English language mastery programs, encouraging personnel to become aware of Hispanic cultural values, developing comprehensive and accessible programs, improving time management, and addressing the issue of cheating. Three tables, three figures, and a profile of respondents are included. (22 references) (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: United States (Southwest)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).