Date of Award

Spring 3-9-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jeffey Lee

Second Advisor

Dr. Tamerin Capellino

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Enomoto


Purpose: This qualitative, critical case study identified and described culture factors Latino students in Monterey County, California, perceive influenced academic success in Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Methodology: This qualitative research design explored the phenomenon of internal and external culture factors Latino students perceive influenced academic success in AP courses. Through semistructured focus group and follow-up interviews, the researcher gathered detailed data on each factor and how it influenced academic success. Using Perna and Thomas’s (2008) student success framework, some success factors were revealed as interdependent.

Findings: Factors that influenced Latino students’ academic success in AP courses included support by teachers, peers, and school; prospects of future financial security; mindset of receptivity and growth; perseverance and determination; strategies to improve and accelerate learning; welcoming, success-oriented, and emotionally safe learning environments; respect and support from family; varied styles of instruction; and negative stereotypes and disappointment.

Conclusions: A variety of internal and external culture factors influenced Latino students’ success in AP courses. Conclusions included shifting school mindset from fixed to growth, providing opportunities for students to develop perseverance and determination, creating effective learning environments with varied styles of instruction, providing opportunities for Latino students to gain perspective on success in AP courses and investing in their education as precursors to financial security, designing and implementing themed academies, apprising Latino parents with AP education details, and funding teacher trainings and retreats to design strategies that improve and accelerate learning for Latino AP students.

Recommendations: Stakeholders should develop plans to shift school mindset from fixed to growth; revise mission and vision statements to reflect commitments to students’developing perseverance and determination; build positive classroom cultures aligned to California Standards for the Teaching Profession 1 and 2; provide opportunities for Latino students to gain perspective on how investing in their education can result in financial security; design and implement themed academies featuring experiential learning through mentoring and internships; collaborate with districts’ information technology departments to develop bilingual, multimedia communication plans that provide AP course information; and fund teachers to attend AVID trainings and Toolkit design retreats that provide Latino AP students with strategies for improving and accelerating learning.