Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Adult Education

First Advisor's Name

Douglas Smith

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Rosa Castro-Feinberg

Third Advisor's Name

Carlos Alvarez


English language, United States, Foreign speakers, Study and teaching, Creole speakers, Haitians, Education

Date of Defense



Few valid and reliable placement procedures are available to assess the English language proficiency of adults who enroll in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs. Whereas placement material exists for children and university ESOL students, the needs of students in adult community education programs have not been adequately addressed.

Furthermore, the research suggests that a number of variables, such as, native language, age, prior schooling, length of residence, and employment are related to second language acquisition. Numerous studies contribute to our understanding of the relationship of these factors to second language acquisition of Spanish-speaking students. Again, there is a void in the research investigating the factors affecting second language acquisition and consequently, appropriate placement of Haitian Creole-speaking students.

This study compared a standardized instrument, the NYS Place Test, used alone and in combination with a writing sample in English, to subjective judgement of a department coordinator for initial placement of Haitian adult ESOL students in a community education program. The study also investigated whether or not consideration of student profile data improved the accuracy of the test. Finally, the study sought to determine if a relationship existed between student profile data and those who withdrew from the program or did not enter a class after registering.

Analysis of the data by crosstabulation and chi-square revealed that the standardized NYS Place Test was at least as accurate as subjective department coordinator placement and that one procedure could be substituted for li other. Although the writing sample in English improved accuracy of placement by the NYS test, the results were not significant. Of the profile variables, only length of residence was found to be significantly related to accuracy of placement using the NYS Place Test. The number of incorrect placements was higher for those students who lived in the host country from twenty-five to one hundred ten months. A post hoc analysis of NYS test scores according to level showed that those learners who placed in level three also had a significantly higher incidence of incorrect placements. No significant relationship was observed between the profile variables and those who withdrew from the program or registered but did not enter a class.



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