Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education



First Advisor

Rabia Hos


Enrollment in foreign language courses has been declining. Fewer students are studying foreign languages and those that do often discontinue after the introductory levels. This single-embedded case study looks into why students who initially wanted to continue on to more intermediate levels did not, and also why students who initially only wanted to complete introductory levels changed their plans and continued on to more intermediate levels. Participants included two groups with nine participants total. The first group consists of five students who initially planned on discontinuing after introductory levels and changed their minds and decided to continue. The second group consists of four students who initially planned on continuing onto intermediate level courses but changed their plans and decided not to continue.

Multiple sources of data were used. The first was a participant interest form, the second was three words that summarized what influenced their decision, the third data source was semi-structured interviews, and the fourth was a researcher journal used for memos.

Results of the non-continuing students indicate that most are still interested in learning the language but were deterred by the course structure, such as time commitment and by not making meaningful progress. Results of continuing students show that a new-found sense of confidence and making meaningful progress influenced their decision to continue, in addition to being motivated by career plans, situations in which they could apply the language, and by support from family, peers or faculty. Implications include suggestions for instructors and administrators on how to use these results to motivate their students.



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