School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


James Zabloski


College, Graduation, High-School, Hispanics, Latinos, Success


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Other Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the impact of Hispanic learners’ perceptions of success on their completion of secondary/post-secondary studies. The following served as a guiding research question: How do the perceptions of success among male and female Hispanic high school completers/non-completers ages 18-29 impact their educational pursuits? This qualitative study examined the lived experiences of Hispanic participants through social/cultural contexts framed around Bronfenbrenner’s (1974) ecological systems theory, Vygotsky’s (1978) social learning theory, Rotter’s (1954) social learning, and Bandura’s (2002) social cognitive theory. Participants included 22 Hispanic high school completers/non-completers ages 18-29 who were clients or students in one of three settings: a Hispanic advocacy center, an adult education center, or a moderate-size university, all near Atlanta, Georgia. A phenomenological approach was chosen because phenomenology considers constructs through the consciousness of persons who live unique experiences. Following Moustakas’ (1994) methodology, this study sought to organize data in such a way to elicit textural and structural descriptions as well as structural meanings related to the phenomenon. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and observations. Analysis was conducted via coding, memoing, and bracketing. By examining participants’ perspectives, as well as their experiences in United States K-12 settings, the researcher determined that their definition of success centered on family. A future phenomenological study to examine language as an acculturative construct, as well as a case study to frame Hispanic students’ perspectives in educational and familial milieus were proposed.