Title

Gaps in Developmental Mathematics Course Sequence Impede Success in College Algebra

Date of Degree

5-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Judith E. Beauford

Advisor

Glenn James

Advisor

Joseph Lazor

Abstract

the purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of gaps or stop outs within the developmental mathematics course sequence on the successful completion of college algebra.

Community colleges are undergoing a transformation. Historically, they have been focused on improving access to higher education; now the focus has shifted to student success. This transformation is evident in the concerted effort to improve student graduation rates and decrease the amount of time spent to complete degrees. For community colleges, the key to this success must include reform and improvement in developmental education. Within developmental education, mathematics presents the biggest challenge for the largest number of students. It was found that many students fail to maintain continuous enrollment in their developmental mathematics course sequence (Bailey, 2009; Bailey & Cho, 2010; Bailey, Jeong, & Cho, 2010). Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of gaps or stop outs within the developmental mathematics course sequence on the successful completion of college algebra. The fall 2004 first-time-in-college cohort of students at a rural community college was selected for this study. Their record of enrollment in the developmental mathematics courses over a six-year period was collected. The enrollment data was analyzed via a binary logistic regression. The results indicate that each gap within the developmental mathematics course sequence increases the risk of failure by 1.5 times.

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