ERIC Number: ED243327
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Can Foreign Language Study Help Underprepared College Students?
Semke, Charles W.; Semke, Harriet D.
A small college in Iowa (Westmar College) undertook an experimental program to determine an experimental program to determine reading skills of underprepared students. Subjects were 20 students reading below the 12th grade level, of whom 9 were chosen randomly and offered a beginning German course instead of remedial reading. All elected to take German, and became a special section of a first year course. These students received no reading instruction, while the other 11 students were given intensive instruction in reading improvement. The two groups had nearly identical mean American College Testing Program and reading pretest scores. The German teaching method was adapted from the Lozanov method, using relaxation and self-concept building techniques. The experimental class covered the same material as the regular section, took the same tests, and were graded by the same standards. All nine students received a C grade or better. At the semester's end, a retest of all 20 students' English reading skills showed that both the experimental and control groups raised their reading skills by one grade level, but the German-instructed group had a significantly better attendance pattern. At the end of the fourth semester, 8 of the 9 students in the experimental group remained at the college, while only 6 of the 11 control group students remained. While the group of subjects was too small for generalization, results support the positive effect of foreign language study on academic success. (MSE)
Descriptors: Achievement Gains, Attendance Patterns, College Preparation, College Second Language Programs, Comparative Analysis, Developmental Studies Programs, German, Higher Education, Introductory Courses, Language Skills, Liberal Arts, Private Colleges, Reading Skills, Remedial Reading, School Holding Power, Second Language Learning, Small Colleges, Transfer of Training
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Lozanov Method
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the American Association of Teachers of German (San Francisco, CA, November 24-26, 1983).