Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Adams, James

Committee Member

Brandenburg, L. Teri

Committee Member

Mathews, Jerry

Committee Member

McGrath, Vincent

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Elementary, Middle, and Secondary School Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


The legislation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has brought to educators’ attention the need, requirement, and demand that all children are guaranteed an equitable education. In support of this mandate, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Education Kathleen Leos (2006) states, “There are approximately 5 ½ million non-English-speaking students in the United States public schools, speaking 440 different languages and 80% of those English language learners speak Spanish” (p. 2). Continuing, Leos reports that English language learners are the fastest growing K–12 population in the United States with 16 states reporting a 200% increase in English language learner enrollment from 1991–2001, (NCELA, 2006b). The Mississippi English language learner population has steadily grown between 50–100% during this same time period (NCELA, 2006b). Since 1994, the steady growth of numbers of English language learners is an indicator of why NCLB mandates specific requirements for English language learners in school districts across the nation(NCLB, 2002). NCLB includes basic principles that require stronger accountability in all realms of education, increase flexibility and local control, expand options for parents, and emphasize utilizing teaching methods that have proven to work in other school programs. Other stipulations of NCLB include providing assistance to schools in need of improvement, providing better information to teachers and administrators, ensuring teacher quality is a high priority, and giving more resources to the schools to accomplish these goals (USDE, 2004). Furthermore, this law has prioritized that all school-age children must make the grade state-defined education standards by the end of the 2013–2014 school year. Stemming from this legislation, educators and school districts have become more aware of their obligations to identify and provide English language instruction for immigrant students in order for them to understand and perform successfully in an all-English-speaking academic setting. Because of the impact of immigration in Mississippi and the legislation of NCLB, this study was designed to determine the progress of English language acquisition of English language learners (ELLs) on the Stanford English Language Proficiency test (SELP), and the relationship, if any, to the progress of English language learners on the Mississippi Curriculum Test (MCT). The results of this study show that ELLs showed English language acquisition on the (SELP) and academic progress on the Mississippi Curriculum Test (MCT) and that there was a significant positive relationship between the two assessments administered during the 3-year period of this study in the Rankin County School District in Mississippi.