A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Submitted to the College of Arts and Sciences by Lilaian Kawash, "Test-Taking Strategies and EFL Students on Academic Probation at the American University of Sharjah," June 2005. Thesis Advisor Dr. Rodney Tyson. Available are both Soft and Hard Copies of the Thesis.
Although there is a lot of research on test-taking strategies (TTSs) and the effect they have on students' test scores, there is no specific research on why students at the university level are placed on academic probation. TTSs are essential to help students proceed through their studies at the university level with ease and understanding. As an academic achievement advisor (AAA) at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), I help English as a foreign language (EFL) students who face academic distress and who are placed on probation identify reasons for their poor academic performances and with them find solutions to promote better success at AUS. The purpose of this study is to investigate why so many EFL AUS students are on academic probation. Do these EFL students use TTSs? Do they approach test taking differently than more successful students do? If so, is that one of the reasons they are on probation? Through surveys, questionnaires, daily observations with high and low achieving students, and interviews with these students, instructors, advisors, and administrators, this study investigated whether poor use of TTSs is one of the reasons why EFL students are on probation. The findings indicate that many EFL students on academic probation who meet with their academic achievement advisors received instruction on test-taking strategies. The training was effective and helped students improve their test scores that got them off academic probation. In addition, other factors that caused EFL AUS students to be placed on academic probation were students' attitude, poor time management and study skills, and inadequate test preparation.