|Abstract or Summary
- Community colleges in the United States have become an important educational
destination for international students. According to the Institute of International
Education (IIE, 2006), international students who enrolled for the first time at a U.S.
campus increased by 8 per cent, from 131,946 students in 2004/2005 to 142,923 in 2005/2006.
Of the approximate 564,766 international students studying in the United States in 2006,
83,160 enrolled in two-year degree institutions and community colleges. The number of
international students enrolled in community colleges in the United States has increased
8% from 2000 to 2006. Language skills are considered a key issue, and most colleges and
universities in the United States have Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
score requirements for admission. International students may also enroll in ESL programs to strengthen their English language skills for inside and outside their academic
studies at the community colleges. However, the value of the TOEFL test as a tool for
gauging scholastic potential remains unclear.
The purpose of this study was to determine if TOEFL a good indicator for
students’ academic success at community colleges. Academic success was measured by
GPA, course completion, and retention. The data was collected at a community college
district located in an urban area in California. A total of 433 international students’
academic records, including a number of demographic variables (e.g., gender, major,
country of origin, educational goal), were tracked from fall 2002 through fall 2006.
Descriptive and correlation analyses were completed for the variables. No
significant relationships were found for TOEFL scores and number of ESL courses in
relation to GPA, course completion and retention rates. Results suggest that TOEFL is
limited and not a good indicator for student success at community colleges. Future
research should conduct more comprehensive studies on international student
performance based on other factors such as full course of study by immigration
regulation or number of courses taken in relation to TOEFL scores.