Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Breana Bayraktar is an Associate Professor of English as a Second Language at Northern Virginia Community College. Dr. Bayraktar has taught adult English language learners and worked in curriculum development, assessment, and teacher preparation for 20 years. Her research interests include faculty professional development, integrating reading and writing across the curriculum, and exploring how small but meaningful instructional changes can impact student success and persistence.


In the spring of 2021, the Community College System in which the author works was in the middle of a planned three-year pilot of math and English self-placement (“Direct Enrollment”) procedures. Concerns about the significant English language learner (ELL) population at one institution led to the development of a corequisite support course designed to support English language learners as they enrolled in first-semester composition. This course is considered a “gateway” course, with success rates hovering around 60% for traditional students, dropping to under 35% for students age 25 and older. As the planned pilot of Direct Enrollment was underway, faculty and administrators at the College were concerned about how placement and enrollment changes would impact the success of ELLs. In this article, the author outlines the problems faced by two-year institutions with large ELL populations and presents data on success rates in transfer-level English, including the impacts of English Direct Enrollment and the ELL corequisite support course pilot. The author then provides recommendations for how the community college system can support ELLs in accessing the support they need to succeed.



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