Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Delores Smiley

Committee Member

Maryanne Roesch


adult education, andragogy, english (second language), English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English For Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), English instruction, English Language Learners (ELL), Second Language Acquisition, second language instruction, second language learning


This applied dissertation provided insight and identified impediments and obstacles in the areas of educational and societal assimilation, career and monetarist support, and academics to ascertain the effects they have on students transitioning from ESOL classes to EAP courses. Adult non-native speakers have evolved into an important segment of the adult population in the United States. Many Limited English Proficient (LEP) students lack the aptitude as it relates to the English language, often translating into lower wages, higher rates of poverty, and limited upward movement in the workplace. Researchers have identified several factors that may potentially influence the program participants including academic and social assimilation, curriculum and institutional support and cultural and educational mores.

A qualitative approach with a multicase study analysis allowed an exploration of the factors affecting enrollment of ESOL students into EAP courses. The researcher interviewed respondents who are representative of the English Language Adult Learner population and were enrolled in the ESOL program in the previous 24 months. From the individual case analyses, the researcher sought to identify strategies that assisted students in the transition from non-credit ESOL courses to credit based EAP courses. The researcher used Malcolm Knowles’ philosophy of andragogy, the study of adult learning, as a theoretical framework. The researcher also incorporated the areas of second-language acquisition including Language 1 (L1) and Language 2 (L2) skills, and cognitive academic language proficiency. The researcher used an electronic survey and face-to-face interviews with respondents to gain an in-depth understanding of textual categories and fundamental themes to ensure consistency and reliability within the study.

An analysis of the data revealed that the reasons LEP students were not continuing to EAP classes upon completion of their ESOL courses were not related to the cost of the EAP classes. The respondents in this research study cited full-time work responsibilities and family obligations as being the primary reasons for not continuing with their English Language classes. Although students reported overall satisfaction with their instructors and ESOL staff, they opted to put off their studies for a variety of reasons.