Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Higher Education Leadership

First Advisor

Brian Hamluk


The proposed research employed a mixed-method approach to investigate why the linguistic standards of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) (levels 5–8) are deemed satisfactory for English as a second language (ESL) learners at the college level. An examination of the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) identified why an ESL learner with a CLB level of 5–8 requires English support services in post-secondary education to achieve academic success in Canada. The CLB levels of six female participants were analyzed using a questionnaire in reading, writing, listening, and speaking to explore their English levels in articulating the language, pronouncing words, and understanding the meanings in alignment with course materials, assignments, and in-class tasks. Additionally, a focus group discovered a correlation between a participant’s current CLB level and the English support services. The questionnaire and focus group permitted the researcher to discern recurring patterns in their experiences using the English language at the college level.


I want to thank Dr. Vincella Thompson, Dean of University Studies at Keyano College in Alberta, Canada, for encouraging me to complete the doctoral program in higher education leadership. I would also like to thank Dr. Eli Ahlquist, Dean of School of Health and Human Services, for helping me in exploring deeper into the literature in this field. I want to express my gratitude to Stephanie Brake, former Chair of Human Services, who had confidence in my abilities as an instructor in the field of education and Alexis Laird, a faculty member at Keyano College, for listening to my never-ending stories. Finally, I would like to thank the faculty at Keyano College for supporting the preparation of this dissertation and Dr. Brian Hamluk, professor at National Louis University in Illinois, who guided this thesis to its full potential.

On a personal note, I would like to thank my mother, Blaselma Williams, in Toronto, Canada, for pushing me through my challenges. I extend the most heartfelt thanks to my son, Keelan Lothian-Williams, and my daughter, Keemiya Lothian-Brown, who have always inspired me to be the best I can be. In closing, I have accomplished my goal and demonstrated that anything in life is possible. I will, I can, and I am.