Bridging the Gap for At-Risk Cohorts: Experimenting with English Language Learners
For many students, the transition from a high school to university learning environment is challenging. Education based research has shown the benefits of active learning in the classroom, but success in these environments is reliant on both a student’s preparation for class and their ability to communicate in a classroom environment. If students are not able to manage the workload for this style of learning environment, they are at risk of falling behind and potentially failing the course. Some groups of first-year students are at a higher risk due to extenuating circumstances. For example, a student athlete with a large time commitment to their sport, a first-generation student who does not have support from college experienced family members, an English Language Learner (ELL) whose English language skills are deficient. We believe that finding strategies to support these high-risk students, will result in course offerings that better support all learners. This paper outlines two interventions attempted across two years with two different ELL Engineering cohorts in an introductory programming course relative to general population cohorts taking the same course. We show some slight increases in the completion rates of the ELL cohort and identify strategies for future offerings to further improve this completion rate.
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