The Achieving Success Everyday (ASE) group model is used to promote self-esteem and academic performance of English as a second language (ESL) students. The findings from the preliminary data indicated that the participants" self-esteem was significantly improved after participation in the group. There was no significant improvement in the total GPA of the participants, although 75% of the participants made modest improvement in GPA. This article explores implications for practice and research.
American public schools have been enrolling an increasing number of students who speak English as a second language (ESL). This rapid growth in the ESL student population is due in part to the dramatic demographic change in the United States over the past 30 years. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES, 2011), the percentage of students aged 5-12 who speak a language other than English at home has doubled since 1980. ESL students are the fastest growing population in U.S. K-12 schools and the trend will continue throughout the next few decades (Sheng, Sheng, & Anderson, 2011). In fact, one in every four students in U.S. public schools will be an English language learner by the year 2026 (Garcia, 1999).
Despite the fast growing trend, there is still no consensus on the terminology used to categorize the ESL population. Currently, a variety of ways exist to describe ESL students, including ELL (English language learners), ESOL (English for speakers of other languages), ELD (English language development), ELS (English language service), and bilingual (Rance-Roney, 2009). In this article, these terms are used interchangeably to address students who are learning English as a second language.
Significance of Serving ESL Students
A Blueprint for Reform, published by the U.S. Department of Education (2010), specifies some priorities in educational reform. One priority includes "equity and opportunity for all students" (p. 5) and English language learners are listed as one of the target student populations. U.S. schools are called to provide appropriate services that support students' educational success and prepare them to be "college and career ready" (p. 3). However; a huge achievement gap between ESL students and their non-ESL counterparts continues to exist (National Education Association [NEA], 2008). To illustrate, the ELL academic performance analysis on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed that only 29 percent of the ELL students in eighth grade reached proficiency or above in reading, comparing to 73 percent of non-ELL students (NEA, 2008). Therefore, it is important for U.S. schools to make concerted efforts to close achievement gaps for ELL students in order to promote their academic achievement (Perez & Holmes, 2010).
In addition to academic achievement, self-esteem is another widely studied variable in educational research for students from the general population. For instance, some literature supports that high self-esteem partly explains students' school performance (Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger, & Vohs, 2003; Dalgas-Pelish, 2006; Roberts, 2002; Schellenberg & Grothaus, 2009; Task Force on the Family, 2003; Zins, Weissberg, Wang, & Walberg, 2004). Researchers also found the relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement could be reciprocal, meaning students' academic achievement could improve self-esteem (Liu, Kaplan, & Risser, 1992; Rosenberg, Schooler, & Schoenbach, 1989; Ross & Broh, 2000). Schellenberg and Grothaus (2009) provided an example of using group intervention to improve both the self-esteem and academic achievement of African American male students. Researchers found that some of the dimensions of self-esteem had stronger correlations with academic achievement. For example, Daniel and King (1995) found that three subscale scores of the Self-Esteem Index (familial acceptance, academic competence, and personal security) were associated with higher achievement scores but not peer popularity. …