Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Darlene Bruner, Ed. D.

Committee Member

Kristine Hogarty, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Patricia A. McHatton, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Zorka Karanxha, Ed. D.


Bilingualism, bilingual policy, ESOL achievement, Second language learners, Hispanic student achievement, dual language


The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomena of middle school transition and achievement as it relates to Hispanic students. According to the 2000 U.S. census, there are more than 35 million registered Hispanic citizens. Of those, 3.6 million are public school students. The literature indicated that there was a marked regression in student achievement during the transition to middle school.

Through the use of descriptive statistics and regression analysis, sixth grade Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) reading and math developmental scale scores (DSS) were analyzed to determine if the mean achievement improved or declined after the transition to middle school. A purposeful sampling procedure was used to select 615 Hispanic students from more than 6,000 students that were enrolled in sixth grade during the 2008-2009 school year.

The major findings of this study did not support the literature that indicated that students experienced a decline in achievement when they transitioned to middle school. Analysis of the descriptive statistics indicated that sixth grade Hispanic students experienced a substantial increase in their mean FCAT reading DSS and a smaller increase in the mean math DSS only increasing by 30 points or 2% after they transitioned to middle school.