Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Susan J. Paik

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Mary Poplin

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

William Perez

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


English Learners, FYC, Generation 1.5, Hispanic, Interactions, Learner Experiences


Hispanic Generation 1.5 students are foreign-born, U.S. high school graduates socialized in the English dominant K-12 school system while maintaining their native language and home culture (Allison, 2006; Blumenthal, 2002; Harklau et al., 1999; Rumbault & Ima, 1988). When transitioning from high school to college, these students sometimes assess into ESL, basic, or mainstream courses based on their English language abilities, and because of this placement, Hispanic Generation 1.5 students might have different learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner experiences than their mainstream peers. The purpose of this study was to describe the learner-content, learner-instructor and learner-learner experiences of Hispanic Generation 1.5 students. This study employed a qualitative design that included an analysis of the participants' interaction experiences. The main source of data was in-depth, face-to-face interviews with forty-one Hispanic Generation 1.5 students at one California State University and one California Community College. Purposive sampling was used to select the interview participants, ensuring that all participants identified as both Hispanic and Generation 1.5 learners and were taking or had taken at least one first year college composition course at their respective institutions. The study findings show that Hispanic Generation 1.5 students at both colleges believed that meaningful interactions with their English instructors, peers, and content played a critical role in their success. Participants indicated that they preferred content that was relatable and engaging; they preferred instructors who were caring, professional, engaging and supportive; and, they preferred peers who were prepared, engaging and supportive. Closing gaps between and among learners and their peers, instructors and content is a critical factor in student success.