Spring 2022



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Betsy Parrish

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Terri Sigüenza

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Casey Hatlevoll


This study investigated the impact of language attitudes on the bilingual and bicultural self-perceptions of fifth-grade Latino students. The research questions posed in this study included: 1) What are the language attitudes (specifically toward English, Spanish, and Spanish-English bilingualism) held by Spanish-speaking English learners in Fifth Grade? and 2) How do these attitudes interact with students’ developing bilingual and bicultural self-perceptions? The literature review includes research related to heritage language maintenance; societal attitudes toward minority languages and their speakers; Latino language attitudes; language attitudes in multilingual educational settings; and the development of bilingual and bicultural self-perceptions. Participants in this study were 15 fifth-grade students attending a Latino dual-language school in a Midwest urban center. A mixed-methods paradigm was utilized, including both quantitative and qualitative measures. First, a questionnaire with multiple choice, Likert-style, and open-response items was administered to fifteen participants. Later, five of these participants were selected to take part in a focus group session. The results of this study reveal that the fifth-grade students held predominantly positive language attitudes toward Spanish, English, and Spanish-English bilingualism and biliteracy. Findings indicate that most students had a much deeper understanding of bilingualism than of biculturalism. In regard to a given language attitude predicting whether or not a student will self-identify as bilingual or bicultural, the data shows no direct correlation. However, this research sheds light on the many complexities surrounding the language attitudes and self-perceptions of Spanish-speaking pre-adolescent Latinos, such as the influence of their self-perceived language proficiency and their understanding of terms.

Research Methodology

Focus Group, Survey (attitude scale, opinion, questionnaire)


At-risk Students, ESL/ ELLs, Motivation, dual-language education








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