Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Robert Valenzuela

Committee Member

Ronnie L. Hunter


English as a second language, language skills, limited English speaking, second language instruction, second language learning


This study was conducted to examine the design and implementation of an intensive English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) program to help students with limited English proficiency improve their English skills and obtain a passing score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). How the ESL course set high expectations for English-language learners and supported them by linking TOEFL courses with academic content was explored.

The researcher developed and facilitated in her workplace an intensive 6-week ESL program for adult students with an intermediate to intermediate-advanced level of English proficiency and assessed the effectiveness of the program that utilized the immersion method and a competency-based curriculum. Standardized, objective measures of the students’ language proficiency in English were obtained at the beginning and end of the study. Daily sessions on reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing, and speaking were designed to help students (a) understand short passages similar in topic and style to academic texts used in North American colleges and universities, (b) understand English as it is spoken in North America, (c) recognize language that is appropriate in standard written English, (d) communicate in English in an academic setting, and (e) write an essay in English on an assigned topic.

Results of the study indicated a significant increase in TOEFL scores of students who were enrolled in the 6-week intensive ESL program. Students’ scores increased in all sections of the TOEFL; however, the greatest increases were made in the Writing and Speaking sections of the test. Although all of the students improved their English skills and were successful in the intensive ESL program, only 86% of the students met the English-proficiency requirement for college admission.