Factors Contributing to Community College English as a Second Language (ESL) Student’s Academic Success
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Given the high numbers of English as a Second Language (ESL) students who begin their studies at a community college, it is imperative that educators help these students thrive. The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which the factors of academic self-efficacy, acculturation, life satisfaction, and academic motivation affect ESL community college students’ academic success. A convenience sample of 118 ESL students who were enrolled in an urban community college in the U.S. participated in the study. These students were volunteers who were enrolled in for-credit classes in the Teacher Education and Child Development Department during the summer and fall semesters in 2011. The following research questions were addressed: (a) Are there significant differences between successful students (i.e., higher GPA) and less successful students on academic self-efficacy?, (b) Are there significant differences between successful students and less successful students on cultural congruity?, (c) Are there significant differences between successful students and less successful students on a measure of academic motivation and life satisfaction?, and (d) What impact does going to college have on ESL students’ family life, work life, and social life? The participants were asked to complete three Likert-type questionnaires and several open-ended items. Results indicated that ESL community college students understand the expectations of their professors, and that they are able to master the coursework using their study skills. Students also perceived that they were accepted in the community college environment and experienced less identity and cultural conflict. Students were also positively impacted by their family’s support and understood the benefits of attending college. However, they had a difficult time dealing with competing time demands (i.e., work, school, family time). The results from the open-ended items showed that the ESL student’s family, work, and social life all play a part in college success. Results from the questionnaires showed that these students’ lives were substantially impacted by attending college. Findings suggested that community colleges can recognize and enhance their ESL students’ strengths rather than simply expecting them to assimilate into the academic environment.
Comfort, Leslie E. (2013). Factors Contributing to Community College English as a Second Language (ESL) Student’s Academic Success. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from