Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Kerrigan, Monica

Committee Member 1

Milou, Eric

Committee Member 2

Perry, Jill


Algebra, College-Level Math, Developmental Education, Liberal Arts Math, Local Randomization, Regression Discontinuity


Underprepared community college students; Algebra--Study and teaching


Community College Leadership | Science and Mathematics Education


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.