Language Education Professors, Drs. Kanno & Leider, Receive Faculty Research Catalyst Award

Dr. Yasuko Kanno
Dr. Yasuko Kanno

Associate Professor, Yasuko Kanno, Ph.D., and Clinical Assistant Professor, Christine Leider, Ph.D., have been awarded with Wheelock College of Education & Human Development’s 2018 Faculty Research Catalyst Award.

The internally-funded award is explained on its Wheelock page as,

“Committed to supporting the innovative work conducted by faculty members in our community and supporting the growth and visibility of our research mission. The Faculty Research Catalyst Award is intended to support one or more faculty members each year to engage in original, fundable, and potentially groundbreaking work that can be used as a foundation for securing external funding.”

Dr. Christine Leider
Dr. Christine Leider

The study will last approximately one year and is titled, “Massachusetts English Learners’ Access to Four-Year Colleges,” which aims to uncover the reasoning behind why only one in five English Learners (EL) are enrolling in four-year colleges and universities following their graduation from high school. The abstract points out that this figure exists in contrast with the nearly half of native English speakers who enroll in such institutions.

In particular, the two researchers are focusing on the role of socioeconomic status (SES)—both students’ SES and the SES of the schools they attend—in shaping ELs’ college options and preparation. The role of SES In general high school students’ college access is well known: Students from lower SES tend to “undermatch,” (i.e., enroll in postsecondary institutions for which they are overqualified).

However, we have little knowledge of how SES interacts with students’ language status and shape ELs’ college access. Through a mixed-methods study combining qualitative case studies at local high schools and a statistical analysis of the Massachusetts state data, Kanno and Leider aim to shed light on this question.

As this funding has been recently awarded, they will be requesting assistance from the Greater Boston-area community:

“This study aims to investigate how ELs navigate transition to postsecondary education and what role socioeconomic status (SES) plays in shaping ELs’ college access. We are soliciting the participation of public schools in the Greater Boston area that have a sizable EL population and want to work towards more equitable college access for ELs.”

Drs. Kanno and Leider, along with two to three Wheelock graduate students, will be conducting the data collection.