Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. K. Christopher Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Aijie Han

Third Advisor

Dr. Elamin E. Ibrahim


The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) is a region populated by Spanish-speaking immigrants and their descendants producing a large English Language Learner (ELL) student population. ELLs have historically had low literacy rates and achievement levels when compared to their counterparts. In order to address this achievement gap, previous research efforts and curriculum interventions have focused on language acquisition as being the determining factor in ELL education, with little attention given to academic content acquisition. More current research efforts have transitioned into English language acquisition through academic content instruction; this present research study specifically focuses on ELL experiences in chemistry. Participants were high school chemistry students who identified as ELL or had recently exited out of ELL status. Students were interviewed to identify factors that attributed to their experiences in chemistry. Findings indicate code-switching as a key to learning chemistry in English but also the deterrent in English language acquisition.


Copyright 2011 Annette Flores. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American