chapter  3
17 Pages

Linguistic Minority Students’ Opportunities to Learn High School Mathematics

ByEduardo Mosqueda

The number of linguistic minority (LM) students in the United States has grown substantially in the past few decades. Recent data show that in 2008 nearly 10.9 million 5-to 17-year-olds (21% of the national total) spoke a language other than English at home (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010). Although over 450 of the world’s languages are represented in U.S. schools, nearly 80% of all LM students speak Spanish at home (Téllez, 2010). The overwhelming majority of the Spanish-speaking students are Latinos; most are of Mexican descent (Kindler, 2002). Students from LM backgrounds are typically foreignborn immigrants or the U.S.-born children of immigrants. LM students thus represent a wide variety of linguistic backgrounds and span from emergent to profi cient English skills and are often classifi ed by schools as English learners (ELs). LMs are also often unfamiliar with the school system in the United States. LM students are more likely to live in poverty, attend dysfunctional schools, and begin school well behind in the content knowledge their language majority counterparts possess (Abedi & Gándara, 2006; Ruiz-de-Velasco & Fix, 2000). Consequently, recent research has focused on how schools can improve the academic achievement of LM students to help improve their postsecondary school prospects, particularly to improve their chances of attending college.