Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Mark Jimenez, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Christopher Maddox, Ph.D.

Content Reader

John Yoder, Ph. D.


associate degree, college readiness, Early College High School (ECHS), Hispanic male students, institutional agents, Zone of Proximal Development


Many Hispanic male students, who are often the first in their family to attend college, face distinctive challenges while attempting to obtain a higher education degree. The purpose of this study was to explore how a sample of 12th grade Hispanic male students in the rural Southwestern United States experience an Early College High School (ECHS) program while attempting to earn an associate degree. A transcendental phenomenological research design was employed to document the experiences of seven 12th grade Hispanic male students who were enrolled in the Associate Degree Pathway of this study site’s ECHS. Purposive sampling was utilized to identify study participants who were in 12th grade, Hispanic, male, and at one point had been enrolled in the Associate Degree Pathway of ECHS. Data was collected from the participants by utilizing an interview protocol in the spring of 2018. The data analysis for this study was accomplished by following Moustakas’ (1994) phenomenological reduction method, which helped generate eight themes. The themes were: (a) poor time management skills; (b) limited prior rigorous academic experiences; (c) extracurricular activity participation; (d) institutional agents present in the students’ lives; (e) parental support; (f) limited social and cultural capital; (g) positive experience about ECHS; and (h) lack of work ethic. This study was significant because the information provided by the participants may have the potential to influence ECHS programs by recommending programming that improves a Hispanic male student’s chances of post-secondary success.

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