Objective: The objective of this study was to create a model of English learners’ (ELs) persistence based on theory and empirical research. Findings from this research informs community college educators in helping ELs persist and guide future research regarding this important student population. Method: We examined ELs’ persistence using structural equation modeling (SEM) based on data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) among a U.S. national sample of 6,872 ELs. SEM was informed through the means of measurement models for latent variables. Reliability and validity were assessed through Cronbach’s alpha, principal component analysis, and fit indices. Results: Our results show that (a) sense of belonging had significant and positive direct effects on ELs’ persistence based on reenrollment decisions, (b) socioacademic integrative moments had significant and positive direct effects on ELs’ sense of belonging, and (c) learning communities had significant and positive direct effects on ELs’ socioacademic integrative moments and sense of belonging. Contributions: Community colleges offer broad access to postsecondary education for ELs, or students in the process of learning English as a second or other language. As a whole, our study contributes to a better understanding of how ELs may persist in their academic studies. We further discuss the implications of our findings in light of policy, practice, and future research.
- English learners
- community colleges
- learning communities
- sense of belonging
- socioacademic integrative moments