Exploring Sense of Belonging, Socioacademic Integrative Moments, and Learning Communities Related to ELs’ Persistence Based on Reenrollment Decisions in Community Colleges

Tiberio Garza, Margarita Huerta, Hugo A. García, Jared Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-51
Number of pages22
JournalCommunity College Review
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • English learners
  • community colleges
  • learning communities
  • sense of belonging
  • socioacademic integrative moments

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