ERIC Number: EJ1018563
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
The Community College: Bridge or Roadblock to Higher Education for US Adult Immigrant English-Language Learners?
Research in Comparative and International Education, v8 n2 p149-165 2013
While community colleges have been accessible for adult learners with an immigrant and an English Language Learning (ELL) background, there is a gap between preparation and academic success on the college level among these students. Within community colleges, older adult English as a Second Language (ESL) students have the lowest first-semester grade-point averages (GPAs), complete fewer semesters, and are four times less likely to graduate than their non-ESL counterparts. The purpose of this qualitative study is to better understand the background, needs, and goals of adult immigrant ELLs (above the age of 30) and how the community college institution mediates the needs of this diverse group within higher education. To achieve this, six qualitative interviews were conducted with adult immigrants who are currently studying ESL for credit at a community college and three with faculty and administrators of the community college. The study examines these issues through the theoretical lens of Lamphere's (1992) mediating institutions and Bourdieu's (1990) cultural-capital theory. These two theories are used in order to examine how the previous experiences of adult immigrant ELLs relate to the community college, and how the community college supports or inhibits these particular students in their life and academic goals. An examination of the cultural capital of the students provides insights on knowledge and social relations that immigrants possess, while the concept of mediating institutions examines how that knowledge relates to their student experience through their presence and social interactions on the community college. Family experiences as well the interactions with other students and teachers presented both mediating and non-mediating factors for students' adaptation to the community college.
Descriptors: Community Colleges, English Language Learners, Grade Point Average, English (Second Language), Academic Achievement, College Preparation, College Faculty, Adults, Teacher Attitudes, Cultural Capital, Family Environment, Student Characteristics, Age Differences, Graduation Rate, Immigrants, Social Environment, College Students, Semi Structured Interviews, Responsibility, College Environment, Student Attitudes, Second Language Learning, Adjustment (to Environment), Nontraditional Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A