Texas Success Initiative (TSI)
As stated previously, the state of Texas currently holds the largest Hispanic population in the United States. As a result, analysis of Texas with regard to academic performance among various racial/ethnic lines will provide a more thorough picture of how Latino student performance compares to that of students of differing ethnicity. The manner in which the Texas state government measures and monitors academic performance among Texas students is through the Texas Success Initiative (TSI). This test examines student performance in the critical academic areas, including mathematics, literacy, science, and social studies. The TSI is administered on an annual basis in order for the Texas State Department of Education to continually assess the effectiveness of the state’s academic framework and process so that issues can be addressed and improvements can be made relatively quickly. According to the TSI test results of 2012, Latino students were found to exhibit academic performance that was lower than that of their peers of other ethnicities. Importantly, the data reflected in the TSI is presented based on an average of student scores for those in regular and gifted programs. As a result, the level of performance that the TSI demonstrates for Latino students is low even when including the academic performance of gifted Latino students into the mean calculation. Importantly, Texas has been rather quick to notice and respond to the performance disparity currently prevailing with Latino students. As a result, the state has begun to develop and implement a number of programs designed specifically to enhance and improve the educational process of Latino students in order to promote higher levels of academic performance. Each program focuses on a different area of the academic process or serves as a bridge for students that must overcome some sort of social or economic obstacle to obtain a good education . In particular, research has found that the level of poverty among Latinos is quite high in comparison to other localities in the United States.
In addition, a host of research conducted in recent years has provided findings that indicate social and economic barriers hinder student performance over the short and long term. As an example, students from poor households with incomes under the poverty level are likely to achieve lower levels of academic performance than students from wealthier households. Ultimately, the focus of this study will be directed toward English skills and English language proficiency. In particular, experience as an international student who has had to learn English as a second language, this researcher has a first-hand understanding of the challenges and difficulties that English language learners must overcome in order to gain the critical English language skills needed to succeed in college-level coursework. This experience has helped to develop increasing interest in exploring the various factors that can affect English language learners achievement of English language proficiency prior to completion of high school and before moving on to post-secondary school.
By using quantitative data and statistical analysis, this study will be able to identify problems or contributing factors that can affect English language learners’ obtain English proficiency. In the end it is expected that identifying factors that can influence ELL obtain English proficiency will facilitate the development of potential solutions to enhance English language performance among high school students preparing to pursue a post-secondary education. In the end, the combination of data resulting from this review of literature and the data yielded through the independent study will provide this researcher with the necessay tools to effectively respond to the research question that has been established to guide this study.