Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Neil Mathur, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joel Davis, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gerald Kiel, Ph.D.


The international tertiary community continues to experience a substantial growth in ESL students, which represent a significant portion of total enrollment. To meet this demand for bilingual education EAP (English for Academic Purpose) programs such as CBI (content-based instruction) curriculum have been widely adopted as the preferred pedagogical approach to address this growing trend in higher education. Despite this popularity, there is a lack of longitudinal research on the efficacy of CBI courses, that link this approach to sustained improvement on student academic achievement scores. This study incorporates a mixed- methods design that investigates the academic performance of two sample groups over a three- year (2014-2016) period, by using ex post facto academic GPA scores. The quasi-experimental sample is compared to the control group after receiving the CBI intervention in the second semester of the participants 2014 freshmen year. The findings suggest a positive sustained relationship between CBI curriculum and increased academic performance post intervention. Additionally, a survey and semi structured interviews were conducted on students and faculty to evaluate perceptions of CBI’s efficacy to promote enhanced L2 proficiency and improved long- term academic achievement scores. The results of this effort support the quantitative analysis, and indicate the majority of participants strongly consider CBI methods as a suitable pedagogical technique, to acquire language and content knowledge while enhancing long-term academic performance. This study was unique because it investigated the longitudinal impact of CBI methods on student performance in Mainland China. This research may inform future practitioners, administrators, and policy makers when developing ESL programs in the higher education environment.

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