Academic ESL Program

Academic ESL Program Reading Area Community College
Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Bilingual /ESL,
Developmental Coursework


Reading Area Community College’s (RACC) academic ESL Program offers credit courses in reading, writing, and listening/speaking for bilingual Spanish/English and non-native English speakers pursuing a college credential. With a focus on the development of academic English language skills, their carefully mapped program and course competencies, along with tutoring support in their Multilingual Learning Center, prepare multilingual students for successful completion of freshman English Composition and other first-year college courses.

Program Description

The academic ESL Program was redesigned in 2012 to reduce credits and accelerate students through the ESL sequence, increase enrollment and enrollee success rates, and repurpose the ESL lab. Since 2012, the Program has evolved to consist of a standardized curriculum for each course, offer paid professional development to faculty and staff, and enhance accessibility to and resources in the Multilingual Learning Center. While ESL enrollees make up only 5% of the college’s population, their program offers support for all multilingual students enrolled in credit courses through the Multilingual Learning Center. Through intentionally structured curricula, engagement in relevant and contextualized activities, and leverage of students’ use of their native languages to aid English acquisition, their program develops non-native English speakers’ proficiency in academic English to become college-ready.


In Fall 2012, 39% of new Latino enrollees became college-ready in reading and writing within one year. In Fall 2017, 59% of new Latino enrollees became college-ready in one year.

From 2015-2017, an average of 31% of Latinos successfully completed freshman composition one year after first ESL enrollment. This represents an increase of 16% for Latinos over the average from 2012-2014.

Since 2012, 54% of Latino ESL students are retained from fall to fall.