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ERIC Number: ED549858
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 218
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-0981-5
Language Minority Students at Community College: How Do Developmental Education and English as a Second Language Affect Their Educational Outcomes?
Hodara, Michelle
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University
Community colleges play an important role in providing first and second generation immigrants access to higher education and the opportunity to earn a postsecondary credential. However, immigrant students may face obstacles in pursuit of a postsecondary degree, particularly second language challenges that can inhibit their success in college-level coursework. This dissertation seeks to provide some of the first evidence on the impact of developmental reading, developmental writing, and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses on the educational outcomes of language minority students, first and second generation individuals who have some level of proficiency in two languages, at community college. To conduct this study, I use a large, administrative dataset from the City University of New York (CUNY) on applicants and enrollees in the fall 2001 to fall 2007 cohorts, tracked for at least three years to summer 2010. I begin with a description of the language minority community college population at CUNY, highlighting their diverse demographic and academic backgrounds. Then, I present two quasi-experimental studies. In the first study, I use a regression discontinuity approach to identify the effects of the most common pre-college English assignments for language minority students at CUNY. Compared to college English, placement in developmental writing or ESL reduced students' likelihood of enrolling in and passing college English and first-year college credit accumulation, but had no impact on students' long-term college outcomes. Compared to placement in just developmental writing or ESL, placement in both reading and writing (either developmental or ESL) slightly decreased students' early college credit accumulation, yet also reduced their likelihood of dropping out over three years. For a smaller sample of students on the margin of assignment to both reading and writing versus writing only, assignment to both subjects had a positive effect on passing college English, a measure of student learning. In the second study, I use a difference-in-differences approach, exploiting the variation in ESL placement across the community colleges, to identify the impact of ESL compared to developmental writing. I find that enrollment in ESL reduced students' college credit accumulation in their first and second year in college and lowered their likelihood of associate's degree completion within three years. The negative effect of ESL enrollment on college credit accumulation is most severe for foreign-born, foreign-educated students (first generation) and U.S.-born students (second generation) in their first year in college, but ESL enrollment had an unclear impact on foreign-born, U.S.-educated students (generation 1.5). This research provides suggestive evidence that certain features of pre-college English coursework can have potentially positive or negative effects on specific outcomes. In particular, assignment to and enrollment in pre-college reading and writing coursework compared to just writing coursework is tied to positive effects on persistence and perhaps learning, while the longer sequence length in ESL compared to developmental English decelerates language minority students' progression through college and degree attainment. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
IES Cited: ED556127