UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Transfer Capital or Transfer Deficit: A Dual Perspective of English Learning of ESL College Transfer Students Foung, Dennis; Cheung, Kin


This research addressed a research gap in scrutinizing the language problems of English as a second language (ESL) transfer students (TSs) with regard to the aspects of “transfer deficit” and “transfer capital”, instead of simply labelling the use of English as a “transfer deficit”. One hundred and twenty-four TSs participated in this qualitative study. From qualitative content analysis, three main categories were identified: (a) English competence as transfer capital; (b) English competence as transfer deficit; and (c) transition from deficit to capital. Based on the results, educational practitioners are advised to pay attention to the specific implications of proficiency-based courses, with support measures not limited to essay-writing or referencing skills, but including advanced research writing genres such as the Capstone Project.

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CC BY 4.0