All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Loucrecia Collins

Advisory Committee Members

Phillip Hobbs

Tondra Loder-Jackson

Evelyn Nettles

William Rogan

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2015

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Education (EdD) School of Education

Abstract

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.

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