First Advisor

Kimberley Brown

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




Lutheran Community Services Northwest, English language -- Study and teaching -- Cushitic speakers, Somalis -- Oregon -- Portland, Women refugees -- Oregon -- Portland, Women refugees -- Somalia



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiii, 258 pages)


This thesis evaluated a program of the Lutheran Community Services of Oregon, an English as a Second Language training program for Somali refugee women. This study examined the English test results and questionnaires of 28 pairs of Somali women and North American volunteers involved in tutoring. The evaluation included communicating with the Somali women, North American tutors, and Lutheran Community Services staff. The researcher created a literacy test, piloted it, and created questionnaires with the assistance of the staff. Before the tutoring began, the researcher created a needs assessment for the Somali participants and visited each Somali woman's home with a Somali interpreter to administer the initial student questionnaire, B.E.S.T. Test, Written Form Test, and needs assessment. The researcher administrated the initial questionnaire to the tutors. Next, the researcher observed the literacy and cultural trainings for the tutors and observed three pairs of tutors and students during tutoring sessions at the students' homes. The researcher attended an informal party for tutors and staff during the middle of the program and administrated the mid-term questionnaire at the party and over the phone. The evaluator discussed the program with the staff every couple months. The final step was going to each Somali woman's home to conduct the final student questionnaire, B.E.S.T. Test, Written Form Test. The final tutor questionnaire was completed over the phone. The researcher and Lutheran Community Services staff presented the findings at the 2000 Oregon Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ORTESOL) Conference. Some of the more significant findings about creating effective programs are that programs for pre-literate refugees should use quantitative and qualitative methods of evaluation and should offer a non-threatening atmosphere for pre-literate adult refugees. Arranging for students to study in their own homes with tutors has positive as well as negative points. The views and languages all of the stakeholders during an evaluation should be considered. It is recommended that programs make materials specifically for their participants, create and offer literacy training specifically made to help tutors teach the targeted populations, and include cultural training for the students and tutors.


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Portland State University. Department of Applied Linguistics

Persistent Identifier