All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Loucrecia Collins

Advisory Committee Members

Phillip Hobbs

Tondra Loder-Jackson

Evelyn Nettles

William Rogan

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Education (EdD) School of Education


As increasing numbers of academically underprepared students are enrolling in community colleges, it is important to understand student perceptions of facilitators and challenges relative to their success in developmental course work. This study explored the lived experiences of recent high school graduates who completed three developmental courses at the community college in the study. The purpose of this research was to conduct a qualitative study to identify facilitators and challenges of successful students in the developmental course sequence. Tinto’s 1975 integrative model provided a framework for the study. The study was guided by the following question: What does it mean for underprepared students to be successful in developmental course work at a community college? Additional sub-questions included: (a) what do students perceive as facilitators to being successful in developmental courses at a community college, and (b) what do students perceive as challenges of being successful in developmental courses at a community college? A phenomenological approach of inquiry was utilized to understand the meaning that first time, full-time freshmen attached to their persistence from developmental course work to college-level course work. Twelve college students at a southeastern community college participated in comprehensive, semi-structured individual interviews. Each participant had successfully completed a developmental course in English, Reading, and Math and had persisted to college-level course work. The findings of the study supported both the student expectations and the academic integration components of Tinto’s theory of academic integration model (1975, 1987, 1993). The qualitative approach also revealed that motivation of the participants enhanced academic integration.

Included in

Education Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.