Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Velma Menchaca

Second Advisor

Michelle Abrego

Third Advisor

Roberto Zamora


According to the United States Department of Education (2017), the number of K-12 Emergent Bilingual students (EBs) has been increasing over the years; in the year 2014 – 2015, there were over 4.8 million English Learners in our country. Therefore, a new norm for many school districts has been to incorporate Dual Language Programs to close the learning gaps between this subgroup and non-English Learners. There are different models used under Dual Language Program models such as the 90:10 and 50:50 model approach. Moreover, other districts provide a Dual Language Program for all students, not just English Learners. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of elementary principals that have made instructional decisions for emergent bilingual students participating in dual language program, in relation to the language chosen to test students in the reading state assessment. The school district had a solid Dual Language program. The researcher used a qualitative phenomenological research design that investigated the lived experiences of the eight elementary principals. Through the data analysis four overarching themes emerged: (1) dual language program knowledge; (2) implementation of dual language program with fidelity; (3) tension for instructional decision-making; and (4) state accountability tensions. The study explored the lived experiences of the participants and acknowledged the value of bilingualism and biliteracy for emergent bilingual students. Keywords: dual language program, Emergent Bilinguals, lived experiences, instructional decisions, state assessment, phenomenological research design


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