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More than learning English? The impact of university intensive English language program attendance on international student academic achievement

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Published: 2021-03-29

Authors

Adam T. Clark

Arizona State University

http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1759-6720

Dianna Lippincott

Arizona State University

Jeongeun Kim

Arizona State University

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3736-1446

Keywords: international students; intensive English language program; academic achievement

Abstract

This study frames intensive English language programs (IEPs) in institutions of higher education as potential vehicles for social justice among marginalized international students. In this study we examine the differences in academic achievement between international students who enter a university through an English proficiency test and those who pass through an IEP. We compared both populations through nearly 900 cases, out of a sample of 4888, who had similar language proficiency at the time of enrolling at a large research-intensive university in the Southwest of the United States. The results revealed great similarity between the populations of students indicating that as an intervention-style program, the IEP was successful in meeting the linguistic and academic needs of the students. The study also revealed potential implications for higher education policy in ensuring both program quality and benefit to students. The paper also raises issues of equity in terms of the lack of analysis in long-term outcomes for these types of programs compared to other interventions, the need for expansion of international student data collection by institutions of higher education and overall transparency in pre-university programs.

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Author Biographies

Adam T. Clark

Arizona State University

Adam Clark is an academic associate at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University and an associate adjunct professor at the School of Education at St. John’s University. His research concentrates on issues related to internationalization efforts of public universities, diversity in higher education, language program evaluation and qualitative research methodologies. He has served as an instructor and administrator in IEPs and other language programs in the US and Japan.

Dianna Lippincott

Arizona State University

Dianna Lippincott is the assistant director of strategic innovation at Global Launch and an instructional professional at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on international student success and English language acquisition, especially in technology-enriched environments and in environments where English is the medium of instruction. As an administrator, she oversees diverse government, business, and international university programs, as well as manages the development of original online curricula.

Jeongeun Kim

Arizona State University

Jeongeun Kim is an assistant professor of higher and postsecondary education at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and faculty affiliate at the Center for Organizational Research and Design at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on how institutions of higher education use their autonomy to organize admission policies, financial aid, tuition and fees, as well as strategies for revenue generation and resource allocation to remain competitive. Her research also addresses how those prestige-seeking behaviors would impact stakeholders, including the students and faculty at those universities. In particular, her research examines how different institutional and departmental contexts affect students’ postgraduate outcomes.

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Published: 2021-03-29

How to Cite

Clark, A. T., Lippincott, D., & Kim, J. (2021). More than learning English? The impact of university intensive English language program attendance on international student academic achievement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(January - July), 43. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.29.4673