A Comparison of English as a Second Language (ESL)
Scores for Adult Students in Two Program Modalities
Miami Dade College (MDC), chartered in the early 1970s by citizens who recognized a need for an institution of higher education in the ongoing development of their young community, was a response to external environmental conditions, including the South Florida land boom and a positive national and regional economic climate. Population increases in the area served by the institution marched hand-in-hand with resource availability and supporters of the college had high expectations for its performance. However, when the first 200 students enrolled at MDC in the fall of 1972, many of these conditions had deteriorated. A major hurricane further impeded development and until about 1992, MDC was marginally viable.
Nevertheless, MDC has over time created a vital niche for itself, serving a diverse population of multicultural students drawn from among traditional college-aged groups and adult learners. A major set of programs offered by the school targets adult students with limited English proficiency (LEP). These nontraditional students access learning opportunities at MDC to enhance their own socioeconomic status, acculturation, and academic achievement. Consequently, programming targeting this student population is a significant element of MDC's overall mission.
Meeting the educational, training, and linguistic needs of non-English speaking or LEP students has become an important component of secondary education programs throughout the world as globalization has proceeded and immigration becomes more and more significant a determinant of population components (White, Watts, & Trlin, 2002). MDC has dedicated a substantial portion of its resources to meeting the needs of adult Spanish speaking and other minority group immigrants with LEP in recognition of the fact that mastery of English language skills is a cri...