Year of Publication


Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Beth Goldstein

Second Advisor

John van Willigen


During the 1990s, standards-based reform became the predominant education reform inthe country. However, neither federal legislation nor state standards-based reform programshave focused much on addressing the needs of special groups. While, the explicit goal ofstandards-based reform was to raise academic achievement of all students, the implicit goal wasto change beliefs about specific groups of students, particularly students who traditionally havebeen perceived as "disadvantaged." This dissertation examines the implementation of standards-based reform policies withpopulations of limited English proficient (LEP) high school students to determine the strength of the Kentucky's policies to include LEP students and the capacity for those policies to influenceeducator beliefs about the abilities of LEP students. The study includes an analysis ofKentucky's reform policies and a case study of one high school English as a Second Languageprogram seen as a leader in implementing standards-based reforms. The case study approachprovided an opportunity to learn about the issues associated with educating LEP high schoolstudents in the context of standards-based reform from the point of view of those who arecharged with implementing these policies. The findings from this study suggest that it is notsufficient to include LEP students in state assessment and accountability systems. In order foraccountability systems to ensure strong student performance, they must also address inequities instudents' opportunities to learn to high standards. The success of Kentucky's policies, as well asother standards-based policies, depends on their ability to drive changes in educator beliefs aboutstudents' capabilities and to drive the creation of local conditions supportive of practicesconsistent with achieving the goals of the Kentucky Education Reform Act.