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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A dropped stitch: The policies and practices of remedial English and their impact on immigrant-origin students in community colleges
by Herrera, Heather, Ph.D., New York University, 2014, 226; 3643026
Abstract (Summary)

Ample data exists indicating that immigrant-origin students are underperforming in education at all levels. In particular, immigrant-origin students are disproportionally the least prepared for higher education. As a result, a majority of these students begin their academic careers at community colleges where they enroll in remedial courses at rates far higher than those for other student populations. Such is the common pathway for immigrant-origin students entering an Urban Public University system (UPU). Research tells us that students who enter college academically underprepared and who struggle in introductory courses are more likely to drop out or withdraw, thus lowering their chances of earning a degree. This dissertation examines the intermediate variables associated with retention and academic achievement during a critical juncture in the college experience: remedial English.

This case study will focus on the institutional context in which the student experience takes place juxtaposed with the student perspective of remedial English. Thus, the overarching research question is: How do English remediation policies and practices (with regard to admissions, placement, testing and remediation classroom experiences) at a large public institution shape the student experience and how does the experience contribute to academic achievement?

In hopes of capturing a comprehensive understanding of the intermediate factor of remedial English, I designed my research with the entirety of the UPU system in mind. To gain the greatest insights into how enrollment in remedial English can influence the academic achievement of immigrant students at UPU, I asked the following research questions: Q1. What are the perceptions of faculty and administrators about remedial English policies and practices and their role in structuring the experiences, opportunities and impediments for immigrant-origin students in community college? Q2. What are students' perceptions of remedial English policies and practices and their role in structuring experiences, opportunities and impediments in community college? Q3. How do faculty, administrators, and students perspectives converge and diverge regarding the experiences, opportunities and impediments for immigrant-origin students in remedial English? By increasing our focus on immigrant-origin students in developmental writing courses, we may contribute positively to student retention and academic achievement overall. Additionally, this study may serve a national purpose by providing critical insights to advance the "completion agenda" endorsed by the federal government as well as numerous private foundations and advocacy groups that share the goal of drastically improving college graduation rates particularly in community colleges by 2020.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Suarez-Orozco, Carola
Commitee: Noguera, Pedro, Sobelman, Marilyn
School: New York University
Department: Teaching and Learning
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Educational sociology, English as a Second Language, Education Policy
Keywords: Academic readiness, Cognitive dissonance, Immigrant students, Persistence, Remedial English, Urban Public University
Publication Number: 3643026
ISBN: 978-1-321-30292-9
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