Evaluating language development in a foundation year program for English as a second language international students

Project: 64
Name: Barbara Hoekje (; 215-895-2067)
Department: English and Philosophy
Academic Area: ESL/Language assessment

Title: Evaluating language development in a foundation year program for English as a second language international students

This project continues with year two analysis of a multi-year project assessing English language development through standardized testing on the IELTS test as well as other performance in a foundation year program ("International Gateway"). A report of the first year performance has just been presented at the Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics (GURT, 2012) and can be accessed on the English Language Center website ( It will also be presented at Drexel's upcoming Research Day.

Associated Independent Study:
A three-credit independent study project with a focus of the student's choosing could easily accompany this project. Suggested areas that would maximize the research would be projects on international education, global competency, English language planning and policy, second language development, and issues in language testing and assessment.

Gained Experience:
The student will gain experience in both qualitative (interviewing) and quantitative (measurement) social science research. The Fellow will be approved for IRB research. The 2011-12 Fellow will be presenting in Drexel's Research Day and next year it is expected that the Fellow will do the same. A wide variety of concurrent research projects will be possible for the Fellow to pursue based on the supervised study.

The expected outcomes of the project in 2012-2013 include presentations at professional conferences and a potential grant proposal to language testing research organizations.

The Fellow will be closely supervised by the lead researcher on this project, Dr. Reese Heitner, in doing interviews with international students in the Gateway program, working with information from database records, and doing preliminary analysis.

The work will take place in the English Language Center offices at the Language and Communication Center, 229 N. 33rd Street.

A regular schedule during the summer term will be established between Reese Heitner, the Fellow, and me. However, regular hours will be during regular working hours of the Center with some flex time available.

Interview Availability:
April 16, April 18