Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Kowalsky, Michelle

Committee Member 1

Caldwell, Janet

Committee Member 2

Lacke, Christopher


college, developmental, mathematics, qualitative, strategies, teaching


Mathematics--Remedial teaching; Effective teaching


Higher Education | Science and Mathematics Education


The purpose of this investigation was to identify strategies used by effective instructors of developmental mathematics, and to discover the perceptions developmental mathematics students have about these strategies. While there are research projects focusing solely on developmental mathematics achievement, this study fills a need by incorporating views of teaching effectiveness from multiple viewpoints.

In this research project, college-level instructors of developmental mathematics students were recorded on video before, during, and after the teaching of an algebraic concept. Students were given a pre-lesson survey and post-lesson survey to see if there were gains in their learning. Students completed a survey about their perceptions of effective teaching, and some participated in an extended phone interview after the lesson. Instructors were also asked for their opinions about the effectiveness of the teaching methods and instructional strategies they chose.

The results of the study show that instructors primarily used direct instruction, avoided the use of group work, and did not use games or manipulatives. One of the most important discoveries was that students overwhelmingly felt that the lessons went well, and they appreciated multiple ways to solve problems. Student gains from pre-lesson survey to post-lesson survey confirm that they are learning well via these methods. Instructors and students both felt that there was not enough in-class time for instruction or practice of problems. The information gleaned from this study can be used to help to improve instruction, to inform programs and policy, and to encourage active review of instructional methods.