Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education PhD, Joint with San Diego State University


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Karen Cadiero-Kaplan

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

William Perez

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Valerie Ooka Pang

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Carl A. Cohn

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Amanda Keri Matas


The purpose of this research study is to compare two yearlong program models designed specifically to educate secondary-level newcomer immigrant youth within one large, urban school district in Southern California. The two divergent secondary-level programs that are compared in this study, a self-contained newcomer program and a beginning level English as a Second Language program (ESL 1/2), are explored to determine which program more successfully prepares secondary-level Latino immigrant youth to gain the language proficiency, academic skills, and academic self-concept necessary to exit after the requisite year.

The research for this study is informed by scholarly literature that concerns the education of immigrant youth. The literature review is driven by the following four central concepts: an analysis of significant federal and California state language policy, mitigating factors in the education of immigrant youth, existing specialized program models, and guiding theories in the schooling of linguistically and culturally diverse students.

The data for this study was collected utilizing a mixed-methods multiple case study approach. Three classrooms within each of the two programs were observed over a month-long period as simultaneous stakeholder interviews and focus groups were carried out to illuminate emergent themes and tensions. Additionally, both current and former students from the two programs were surveyed to determine their academic, social, and personal self-concept levels. The qualitative and quantitative data gathered through this study was analyzed and triangulated to determine the effectiveness of each program and answer the guiding research questions.

The results of this study demonstrated mixed findings between the two programs under study. The students gained greater academic skill levels and a higher academic self-concept level as a result of the more supportive environment offered within the newcomer program, yet the ESL 1/2 students made greater gains linguistically, as was evidenced by higher redesignation rates. In addition, after their second year, the students from the newcomer program reported far lower academic self-concept levels than those who had exited the ESL program. Therefore, due to the mixed results, this study incorporated an action plan to assist districts in creating and implementing effective programs for newcomer youth.