The Value and Attributes of an Effective Preparatory English Program: Perceptions of Saudi University Students

  •  Maram George McMullen    


This study investigates the effects of gender and geographical location on the perceptions of Saudi university students regarding the value of preparatory English programs and their attributes. Data was collected during the fall of 2013 from three sample universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) using an online survey as the instrument. Participants in the study (N = 479) were all enrolled in similar preparatory year English programs in the kingdom and totaled one hundred eighty-four male students and two hundred ninety-five female students. Encouraging results from this study suggest that Saudi university students do realize the value of a preparatory year English program. In most cases, they share common perceptions about which attributes are needed to insure the success of any such program. In some cases, there are significant differences based on gender and geographical location. While research studies on the specific language skills of Saudi university students are increasing steadily each year, the number of studies on preparatory English programs in Saudi Arabia is limited. This study marks the first kingdom-wide, large-scale quantitative analysis study on the programs themselves.

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