Language And Literacy Skills of Adolescent University Students Enrolled in Developmental And Traditional College-Level Writing Courses
AuthorBarron, Eunice V.
AdvisorBass, Lori A
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With the high rate of college enrollment, students can be expected to bring with them a wide range of academic skills. In 2010, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) reported that 34% of recent Nevada high school graduates required developmental coursework prior to enrollment in college-level classes, with approximately half of these students requiring remediation in English. Yet, little is known about the language skills these students possess. May enrollment in developmental English be an indicator of underlying language deficits? The first purpose of this study was to determine the associations between multiple measures of oral language, oral vocabulary, written language, working memory, and cognition in a sample of university students enrolled in the three English course sequences offered at the University of Nevada, Reno. The second purpose of the study was to determine which standardized and/or researcher-developed measures were able to differentiate among students in each of the three course sequences. Participants were comprised of 19 adolescents between the ages of 18 to 20 years at UNR. Students were recruited from the following Core Writing courses: English (ENG) 098, ENG 100I, and ENG 102. Most students had completed their initial Core Writing course in Fall of 2011. They were given an assessment battery measuring the following language-related skills: non-verbal IQ, reading fluency and comprehension, oral vocabulary knowledge, oral and written expression, and working memory. Positive associations were found among many of the language and literacy measures. The strongest associations were found among the expressive language and literacy measures. Participants' performance on the Formulated Sentences subtest of the CELF-4, the Written Expression Scale of the OWLS, and the Oral Reading Fluency subtest of the WRMT-III were the three measures that served to differentiate between students in the three course sequences. Whereas there were no differences in performance on this measure between students enrolled in the two developmental course sequences, students enrolled in the standard freshman curriculum performed significantly better than their peers. The practical implications of these results are discussed.