Date Approved

3-15-2017

Embargo Period

3-16-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Kerrigan, Monica

Second Advisor

Milou, Eric

Third Advisor

Perry, Jill

Subject(s)

Underprepared community college students; Algebra--Study and teaching

Disciplines

Community College Leadership | Science and Mathematics Education

Abstract

Many students enter community college underprepared for college-level math and are placed into developmental elementary algebra without consideration if the algebra will provide a foundation for their needed college-level math course. Large percentages of those students are unable to succeed in the developmental course and, therefore, are unable to graduate (Bahr, 2008; Bailey, Jeong, & Cho, 2010). This quasi-experimental design focused on students who are not in math-intensive majors, needing only a general liberal arts math course. The purpose was to determine the impact of the elementary algebra course on success in college-level math and persistence in college. Student performance data were aggregated from four community colleges within a state in the northeastern United States. Students' success in a college-level liberal arts math course and total credits earned were examined. An independent t test showed students who scored above the cut-off for developmental placement outperforming those who scored below, yet all differences disappeared when a regression discontinuity was implemented, leading to a conclusion that the actual placement in developmental algebra had no impact on students' success in college-level math or total credits earned.

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