Academic Achievement for ESL Learners in a Teaching Hospital’s Training Program

Abdul Fattah Rachdan

This is my approved doctoral study

Abstract

Many students in an allied health program at a Middle Eastern Arab university were experiencing difficulties with courses taught in English, resulting in poor academic achievement, low grade point averages, a high failure rate amongst its first year students, and an adverse impact upon a future skilled and educated work force for the region. Tinto’s theory of institutional action for students’ success served as the conceptual framework for the inquiry that used a qualitative explanatory case study method to examine the experiences of those students who were facing difficulties with their studies. To address questions about why students were failing and leaving the school and how the institution might remedy this educational problem, the study employed initial and follow-up interviews and reviews of academic records and portfolios of 6 currently enrolled or recently graduated students over age 21, who volunteered to participate. Content and thematic analysis of the collected qualitative data produced findings indicative of lack of college readiness among students and gaps in institutional practices such as remedial methods for the unprepared students. Based on the study findings, a policy recommendation for improving the educational practices was introduced to support building a better educational environment at the school. The positive social change implications of this study are not only limited to establishing programs to support the students’ success and improve retention rates at the institution but also may include the establishment of more effective approaches to the reform measures of the educational system in the country.