Date of Award

Fall 1988

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Taft, Thomas B.

Second Advisor

Thom, Carl G.


An increasing number of students for whom English is not a primary language is currently enrolled in the dental curriculum at Marquette University School of Dentistry. Empirical observations made by faculty and their expression of concern regarding difficulties encountered in instructing those students for whom English is a second language (ESL), led to the undertaking of this study. The purpose of the study was to compare the attitudes and perceptions of faculty and ESL students regarding basic issues in the dental education program. Two forms of a questionnaire were generated. The questionnaire was designed to assess the level of difficulty encountered by ESL students in comprehending written materials (text books, laboratory manuals, handouts), lectures and technical terminology, as well as communicating with others. One form of the questionnaire was distributed to the 110 ESL students in the dental school. The other form was distributed to 51 full-time and 46 randomly selected part-time faculty. A Chi-Square analysis of the responses showed significant differences between faculty and student perceptions regarding the ESL student's level of difficulty in the educational experience. Because of these differences, there may exist a disparity between the instructional methods and students' expectations and comprehension which may lead to a learning barrier.