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ERIC Number: ED552396
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 301
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2679-1183-4
Technical College Transition Experience from English as a Second Language through Graduation
Solomon, Debra J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Cardinal Stritch University
In the United States, adult students of English as a second language (ESL) comprise both the majority and the fastest growing group of adult education students (Crandall & Sheppard, 2007). After ESL, many must seek higher education to earn a sustainable living wage (Wrigley, Richer, Martinson, Kubo, & Strawn, 2003). This study described the college transition experience of technical college alumni from ESL through graduation. The theory of margin (McClusky, 1963) was used as a framework. Margin is a formula of power over load. Resources and support are called power, while challenges and obstacles are called load. Throughout the adult lifespan, the load-power ratio changes and adults adjust to achieve sufficient margin (McClusky, 1963). The research questions asked how do technical college alumni describe and interpret 1) their transition from noncredit ESL to college level credit-bearing coursework and 2) the experience of persisting to college graduation? This descriptive mixed methods study described the college transition experience at one technical college (MTC). Descriptive statistics were used to examine transcripts for 52 MTC alumni who studied ESL and graduated between 2007 and 2011. Eleven alumni participated as interviewees. Finally, six alumni comprised the confirmatory focus group. Results suggested there was no singular type of student or path from ESL to college graduation. Participants gained power from ESL teachers, classmates, and from their own attitude and self-knowledge. Each individual managed their internal psychological load while in ESL and also during college credit classes. While persisting in college, some external factors presented as both power and load including time, money, essential relationships, and college subject areas. Struggles with college knowledge and English also contributed to participants' load. Participants identified power from college teachers and also from their diverse internal assets such as goal setting, focus, and motivation. Findings suggest that ESL support should be available throughout the college. Enhanced sharing of college knowledge, counseling, and updated personnel training will positively affect college transitions. Consideration of the experiences of students and alumni who speak English as a second language is critical for the future success of similar students who are transitioning to higher education. [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; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A