Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Major

Mathematics

Research Sponsor

Tim Norfolk

First Reader

Curtis Clemons

Second Reader

Gerald Young

Abstract

International students are a small and diverse student population present in any sizable American university. One of the greatest obstacles in their path is the acquisition of the English language. English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs, such as the English Language Institute (ELI) at the University of Akron, attempt to address this problem. By studying how this student population progresses in their academic studies, EAP programs and their associated universities can make well-informed decisions on how best to serve their English Language Learners. One way to study International students is through the use of a Markov model based on university data. The statistically calibrated model is helpful in that it can reveal at what stage of their studies students are struggling the most or succeeding the most. Our results show that ELI students are well prepared, since international students who are first time freshman seem to have a higher progression rate to the sophomore level than the standard STEM population of students. We also find that students who repeat their freshman year are more likely to repeat again than progress to the sophomore level.