Hispanic Adults and ESL Programs: Barriers to Participation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Hispanic adults represent a significant proportion of the low‐literate population in the United States and are thus a group of great potential concern to educators. Attempts to increase the English literacy levels of this group are limited by lack of empirical data regarding variables that affect Hispanics' participation in educational programs. The purpose of the study reported in this article was to gather information about barriers to participation in ESL programs for these adults. Data were obtained from 200 Hispanic ESL students with the Deterrents to Participation Scale—Form LLS (adapted from Hayes & Darkenwald, 1988). Four orthogonal factors were identified through principal components analysis of the data: Self/School Incongruence, Low Self‐Confidence, Lack of Access to Classes, and Situational Constraints. Through disjoint cluster analysis, five types of low‐literate Hispanic adults were identified according to their scores on the four deterrent factors. These findings provide information that can be used as the basis for developing strategies and programs to meet the ESL needs of specific subgroups of the adult Hispanic population. 1989 TESOL International Association

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-63
Number of pages17
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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