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English Language Learners in U.S. College Classrooms

Supporting the academic success of English Language Learners in U.S. universities.

Language Diversity in Instruction & Assessment

These digests, published through the Center for Applied Linguistics' Web site ( provide a brief introduction to what's needed to fully support learners who speak English as a second language. This includes understanding the relationship between bilinguaglism and learning, addressing the needs of English language learners in the classroom, and developing ways of fairly evaluating students' performance by focusing more on intellectual merit rather than language proficiency.

Language, Diversity, and Learning: Lessons for Education in the 21st Century (PDF)
Sonia Nieto (Center for Applied Linguistics, 2010)

Integrated Content and Language Instruction (PDF)
Arieh Sherris (Center for Applied Linguistics, 2008)

Alternative Assessment and Second Language Study: What and Why? (Web)
Charles R. Hancock (Center for Applied Linguistics, 1994)

Further Research

Below, you will find a sampling of research articles on English as a Second Language (ESL) and English language learners (ELLs) in U.S. universities.  Topics include students' experiences and practices as well as educators' perspectives and instructional strategies, including assessment methods.  This list is meant to get readers started on these topics. Articles were chosen based on relevance and publication date.

A. Learners & Educators
B. Instruction & Assessment

A. Learners and Educators

Entries are organized alphabetically by author.

Affective learning: the anxiety construct in adult learners.
Bigdeli, S. (2010). Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences; 9 (674-678).

ESL students in first-year writing courses: ESL versus mainstream classes.
Braine, G. (1996) Journal of Second Language Writing; 5, 2 (91-107).

A brief overview of individual differences in second language learning.
Ehrman, M.E. et al (2003) System; 31,3 (313-330).

ESL students’ experiences of online peer feedback.
Guardado, M. and Shi, L. (2007).  Computers and Composition; 24, 4 (443-461).

ESL students’ attitudes toward punctuation.
Hirvela, A. et al (2012).  System; 40, 1, (11–23).

Transnational identifications: Biliterate writers in a first-year humanities course.
Jarratt, S. et al (2006). Journal of Second Language Writing; 15, 1 (24-48).

The use of paraphrase in summary writing: A comparison of L1 and L2 writers.
Keck, C. (2006).  Journal of Second Language Writing; 15, 4 (261-278).

Writing through two languages: First language expertise in a language minority classroom.
Kibler, A. (2010). Journal of Second Language Writing; 19, 3 (121-142).

Writing teachers’ perceptions of the presence and needs of second language writers [...]
Matsuda, P.K. et al. (2013)Journal of Second Language Writing; 22, 1, (68–86).

Reading Anxiety among Second Language Learners.
Rajab, A. et al (2012).  Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences; 66, 7 (362-369).

Negotiating grammatical choices: Academic language learning by secondary ESL students.
Shin, S.J. (2009). System; 37, 3 (391-402).

A review of the acculturation experiences of international students.
Smith, R.A. and Khawaja, N.G. (2011). International Journal of Intercultural Relations; 35, 6 (699-713).

[...] ESL student perspectives on web-based discussions in the classroom.
Ware, P.D. (2004).  Computers and Composition; 21, 4 (451–468).

Academic Writing in a Second or Foreign Language [...]
Xu, S. (2012). Journal of Second Language Writing; 21, 4 (431–433).

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B. Instruction and Assessment

A reflection on ‘the language learning potential’ of written CF

Bitchener , J. (2012). Journal of Second Language Writing, 21(4), 348–363.

The effect of different types of corrective feedback on ESL student writing

Bitchener , J.  et al (2005). Journal of Second Language Writing, 14(3), 191–205.

George C. “Going up there”: Challenges and opportunities for language minority students [...]
Bunch, G. (2009). Linguistics and Education, 20(2), (81–108).

The efficacy of various kinds of error feedback [...]
Chandler, J. (2003).  Journal of Second Language Writing, 12(3), 267–296.

Empowering ESL students: A new model for information literacy instruction
Conteh-Morgan M.E. (2001). Research Strategies, 18(1) (29–38).

The process-oriented ESL writing assessment: Promises and challenges
Lee, Y-J. (2006). Journal of Second Language Writing, 15(4), 307–330.

Teaching coherence to ESL students: a classroom inquiry
Lee, I. (2002). Journal of Second Language Writing, 11(2), 135–159.

A study on the use of computerized concept mapping to assist ESL learners’ writing

Liu, P-L. (2011). Computers & Education, 57(4), 2548–2558.

Teaching and assessing academic writing via the portfolio [...]
Romova, Z. and Andrew, M. (2011). Assessing Writing, 16(2) 111–122.

Using portfolios to assess the writing of ESL students: a powerful alternative?

Song, B. and August, B. (2002). Journal of Second Language Writing, 11(1), 49–72.

Evaluating student learning in a university-level EAP unit on writing using sources
Wette, R. (2010). Journal of Second Language Writing, 19(3), 158-177.

Effect of instruction on ESL students’ synthesis writing.
Zhang, C. (2013). Journal of Second Language Writing. 22(1), 51-67.

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