International student adjustment, technology use and English language learning in academia
Athos K. Brewer, American University, United States
American University . Awarded
This study explored innovative methods of language learning by comparing non-traditional with traditional language learning methods at a community college. It also explored the interaction between the methods of instruction and the levels of adjustments of second language learners. Two tests (pretest and post-test), and two survey instruments, survey used to record demographic information, technology use and the Noncognitive Questionnaire (NCQ) to measure adjustment areas related to academic success were administered to 140 students in eight English as a Second Language (EL 102) classes at a community college in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. A quasi-experimental design, the non-equivalent control-group design, was employed to address research questions.
Results of the study reveal that non-traditional language learning methods were significant with respect to paragraph writing compared to traditional methods favoring grammar. In regards to student adjustment, better adjusted students scored higher on all four tests (pretest grammar and paragraph writing, post-test grammar and paragraph writing) regardless of teaching methods. Statistical significance was found in the mean scores of post paragraph writing tests for better adjusted international students and the Generation 1.5 group. For the Generation 1.5 group, students with less than 11 months of prior English studied out-performed those with 12 months or more of prior English studied with respect to paragraph writing. According to the National Association of Bilingual Education (1996), a key predictor of academic success is a student's fluency in his or her native language. For Generation 1.5 students, more months of English studied in U.S high schools correlated to less time spent developing native language fluency.
To improve the success and retention rates of international students, faculty and administrators in higher education must consider the importance of a student's levels of adjustment and its impact on test scores. Efforts and opportunities should be made to get international students and Generation 1.5 students with lower than average scores on the NCQ better adjusted to U.S. academia if we wish improve their test scores and ultimately retain them.
Brewer, A.K. International student adjustment, technology use and English language learning in academia. Ph.D. thesis, American University.
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