First Advisor

Kenneth Peterson

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Administration


Educational Leadership and Policy




Vietnamese Americans -- Education (Secondary) -- Oregon, Bilingual Education -- Oregon, High school students -- Oregon -- Attitudes



Physical Description

2, ix, 219 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Research on the education of Vietnamese-Americans is very limited, and mainstream media continue to project Vietnamese students either as high achievers or gang affiliated (Castro, 1983; Davis & McDaid, 1992). This kind of projection can mask the real issues that Vietnamese students are facing. Based on Cummins' (1979) Contextual Interaction Theory, this study examined the views of Vietnamese-American high school students in Oregon regarding their schooling under four major areas: Community Background Factors, Educational Input Factors, Instructional Treatment, and Student Input Factors. In particular, this study examined factors, within the above four areas, pertaining to the schooling of Vietnamese-American high school students such as parental concerns, peer relationships, language use in the classroom, ESL learning, subject areas, teacher support, first language usage, discipline issues, home/school communication, teacher knowledge about culture, extracurricular activity, drug/alcohol issues, gang affiliation, dropping out, student effort in learning, homework, career planning, and future concerns. A survey of 145 subjects was conducted in the Portland and surrounding high schools. The study was supplemented by two interviews of two unique students: a high-achiever and a high-risk case to illuminate the real life and school experiences they encountered in their schooling. The interviews added a holistic dimension to this study. The survey data were analyzed descriptively, statistically, and inferentially to provide answers for the research questions. The overall conclusion was Vietnamese-American high school students in this sample came from large families with strong family support and value for education. They brought with them a strong motivation for learning. They were committed to school work and put much effort in learning. They reported doing well in mathematics and science. They reported difficulties in English language comprehension, but only one third of them perceived ESL as a strong treatment. Very few were participating in extracurricular activities. Their relationships with American peers were poor. They perceived a good level of staff welcome and support but were not sure about the staffs understanding of their culture. These students showed a respect for school rules, but reported little school/home communication. Many worried about their future. Briefly, their perceptions regarding educational input factors and instructional programs were not as strong as community background factors and students' contributions.


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