Science education for rural Latino/a students: Course placement and success in science Academic Article uri icon


  • This study investigated the effects of one rural high school's science course placement practices on Latino/a student success in science, as measured by performance in a required science course and enrollment in subsequent science courses. The high school involved in this study has experienced a rapid increase in language minority students and placed students considered to be "limited English proficient" into a science course intended for those with learning disabilities. The results indicate that track placement was inappropriate, as Latino/a students with demonstrated success on standardized tests written in English, and with high grade point averages, were placed in the lower-level science course. Students placed in the lower-level science course, regardless of academic ability, were unlikely to take subsequent courses required for college admission despite the fact that most had college aspirations. Conversely, low-achieving non-Latino/a White students were disproportionately placed in upper-level science classes, a track associated with greater success in science for all. Thus, despite this rural school's attempt to provide for the needs of all the students, the result in this case was decreased success in science for Latino/a students, regardless of their English fluency. Implications for inclusive rural science education are discussed. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zuniga, K., Olson, J. K., & Winter, M.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Zuniga, K||Olson, JK||Winter, M

publication date

  • January 2005