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Cross-age Tutoring in Elementary Spanish Enrichment: A Mixed Methods Case Study

Nick Ziegler, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study investigates the Spanish Ambassador Program (SAP), an innovative alternative for providing exploratory elementary Spanish enrichment which enlists high school Spanish students to deliver elementary lessons. This research explored the implementation of the SAP over three academic years (2013-2016) in a small, rural school district in southeast Nebraska which would not otherwise have been able to provide elementary language enrichment courses. A mixed methods case study design was used in which a modified exploratory sequential design was embedded into the case study framework. The first phase incorporated a convergent mixed methods design to investigate the SAP in terms of efficacy (i.e., elementary student achievement, elementary student self-reaction to the SAP, and high school student self-reaction to the SAP), intended outcomes (i.e., increases in elementary and high school student task value and intrinsic motivation for continued language learning), and unintended outcomes using both quantitative (i.e., surveys and pre-post unit achievement tests) and qualitative (i.e., interviews) methods. Embedded analysis across multiple stakeholder groups (i.e., elementary administrator, high school Spanish teacher, elementary teachers, high school Spanish students and elementary students) established a rich understanding of the SAP. Meta-inferences generated from phase 1 analysis suggested the SAP was efficacious in terms of the intended outcomes, identified important unintended outcomes, and identified needed areas of improvement. Phase 2 of this study involved implementing changes addressing the areas of improvement and expanding the quantitative instrument both to assess the degree to which the changes made impacted stakeholder perception of the SAP and explore the extent to which the unintended outcomes identified could be generalized to a larger sample of participants. Phase 3 findings confirmed those from phase 1. Findings suggest enlisting high school students to deliver lessons can be effective method for providing exploratory language enrichment courses which also facilitates desirable outcomes for high school students. As an instrumental case study, the purpose of this dissertation is to provide a sufficiently rich description of the SAP for readers to make naturalistic generalizations to their own contexts, facilitating the recreation of the SAP in other districts which may be struggling to provide elementary language enrichment courses.

Subject Area

Foreign language education

Recommended Citation

Ziegler, Nick, "Cross-age Tutoring in Elementary Spanish Enrichment: A Mixed Methods Case Study" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10142890.