ERIC Number: ED354961
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: 0
Academic Credit for ESL Classes?
Van Meter, Jean
Review of Research in Developmental Education, v8 n1 1990
As a result of the increased demand for English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) instruction and the concomitant growth of ESL programs, interest has increased in the issue of credit for courses designed to promote English language proficiency sufficient to engage in postsecondary education. Recent national and regional studies have found that a significant number of two- and four-year colleges offer ESL for credit, with figures ranging from 44% to 79%, and that there are various ways of awarding credit. Those who support awarding academic credit for ESL argue that the acquisition of a new language requires as much or more effort than is required of typical college-level courses. They point to the abstract-level reasoning skills needed to learn the vocabulary and semantics of a foreign language. Other administrators and faculty do not feel that ESL courses should carry credit, contending that these courses do not contain college-level course material, that the nonpunitive grading often used in such courses does not warrant credit to a degree, that granting credit for ESL courses would require the hiring of new faculty and the establishment of new departments, and that ESL courses are not equivalent to foreign language courses. States and individual colleges have implemented a variety of policies that represent compromises on the credit issue. The California community colleges, for example, do not offer credit for "survival skills" or "prevocational" ESL courses, and award general education, elective, or major requirement credit for ESL courses based on students' majors. The issue of credit is related to the way in which colleges view their foreign student populations--as academic problems or as underprepared students with distinct academic promise. A 26-item bibliography is included. (MAB)
Descriptors: Academic Standards, College Credits, College Second Language Programs, Community Colleges, Credit Courses, Educational Research, English (Second Language), Foreign Students, Language Skills, Second Language Instruction, Student Placement, Two Year College Students, Two Year Colleges
Managing Editor, RRIDE, National Center for Developmental Education, Reich College of Education, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608 ($9.50/year subscription).
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Appalachian State Univ., Boone, NC. Center for Developmental Education.