How to transfer school credit from Mexico to the U.S. using CIE’s LUCHA program


Sheila De La Rosa, a recent immigrant to the United States, was enrolled in high school in Texas as a freshman even though she had completed several years of high school in Mexico. Her new school didn’t know what to make of her transcript from Mexico. But they employed CIE’s LUCHA (Language Learners at The University of Texas at Austin Center for Hispanic Achievement) program to determine her true academic level. Sheila was soon awarded credit for her coursework in Mexico and re-placed at a higher grade level.

“[LUCHA] has kept me from having to repeat courses which I have already taken and received credit for in Mexico,” says Sheila. “Without the support of this program it would have been difficult getting to the place where I am currently—a college student.” LUCHA is designed to help Spanish-speaking students transition into Texas public schools. Taking LUCHA’s example, Sheila has committed herself to helping other immigrant students. “My goal is to become a teacher that helps students [and] newcomers to this country. I know I’m going to be as great a help to them as LUCHA was for me.”

Approximately 25 school districts across Texas use LUCHA’s transcript services. LUCHA acquires and analyzes the actual Mexican course content to determine with which Texas course it aligns. LUCHA’s goal is to assist schools in reducing the dropout rate of Mexican immigrant students. LUCHA is seeing evidence that student motivation has increased and students are becoming more successful.

This is how the transcript service works:

  • First, U.S. schools identify eligible students. The students must be from Mexico and have completed at least the second year of their Secundaria education (grade 8 in the U.S.).
  • Next, the U.S. school collects all the transcripts the student has for grades 8 through the final year completed. If the student does not have one or more transcripts, the school may request that LUCHA obtain those transcripts from schools in Mexico.
  • The school staff then enters the LUCHA online system and submits student information and/or Mexican school information (for transcript obtainment requests). The school must also send hard copy transcripts to LUCHA.
  • LUCHA matches the online request with the student transcripts it receives and begins the analysis process. LUCHA uses a database of curriculum it has already identified to analyze the transcripts. If the content is not in the database, it will be obtained from the school in Mexico for analysis.
  • LUCHA creates a personalized credit analysis for the student and returns it to the school within seven to ten days. The U.S. school then uses the recommendations from the analysis to place the student.

For more information:

On Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at the Thompson Conference Center, LUCHA is hosting an informational symposium that will feature Dr. Alba Ortiz from UT’s Office of Bilingual Education, and presentations from three school districts that are using the LUCHA services: Brownsville ISD, Donna ISD, and Pasadena ISD. For more information, or to register for the Symposium, call (512) 471-0226.


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