Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD

Second Reader

Elizabeth Truesdell, PhD


English Language Learners (ELL) are struggling to develop literacy skills in social studies classes at the high school level in conjunction with the transition to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and assessment. The researcher conducted a qualitative teacher action research study. Participants included freshman high school students in mainstream, college preparatory, World Cultures classes in an affluent, suburban, public school district in California.

Through this teacher action research study, 34 high school grade students responded to a writing prompt used a pre-test evaluation. Students were then guided through a lesson sequence teaching writing strategies based in the Thesis-Evidence model. Upon completing these writing based lessons, students were evaluated again with another writing prompt, which served as the post-test. Both the pre-test and post-test were evaluated using a teacher created rubric aligned with the 9th grade CCSS for writing. Results indicated that the application of CCSS based writing strategies yielded improvement in all areas of academic writing for not only ELLs, but for the whole class as well.