Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Dr. Joanne Burnett

Committee Member 2 Department

Foreign Languages and Literature

Committee Member 3

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 5

Dr. Thomas O'Brien

Committee Member 5 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

Differential performance is a frequent issue in formal education in general and in second language education in particular. Three variables that may have an effect on college language learners’ performance were identified in the literature on adult education and second language acquisition, namely, self-directed learning, metacognitive awareness, and self-efficacy beliefs. The relationship among those three predictors as well as their relationship with academic performance (in the form of college learners’ grammatical competence in Spanish) was explored using a multiple regression analysis. The statistical analysis showed that none of those three variables predicted learners’ grammatical competence in Spanish. However, participants’ answers to the survey and what they wrote as part of the grammatical competence assessment show both the presence and the absence of self-direction in learning, metacognitive awareness, and degrees of self-efficacy. The grammatical competence assessment shows a developing interlanguage system characterized by systematicity, variability, and creativity. All that information is expected to contribute to the fields of adult education, second language acquisition, and second language teaching.