Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Kerrigan, Monica

Second Advisor

Milou, Eric

Third Advisor

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.