School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Nathan Putney, Steven McDonald


College readiness, Developmental math sequence, Remedial math course


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods


This qualitative research study was a bounded case study exploring how and why community college students achieved academic success after completion of the developmental math sequence and a college level math course. The purpose of this research was to explore how and why community college students were academically successful in college algebra or elementary statistics after completion of the developmental math sequence. For the purpose of this study, the students' changes in behavior that influenced academic success and persistence in their math courses were generally defined as involvement in academic support programs, integration into social groups, and the perception of their ability to perform in the college level math curriculum. Throughout this study, the intent was to explore the participants' historical and social perspective through their descriptions and perceptions from developmental math through college algebra or elementary statistics. Data collection consisted of surveys, interviews, field notes, archival data, and a focus group session. Themes emerged after repetitive, rigorous listening of the interviews and focus group session; in addition, rereading the transcriptions allowed for immersion into the data. The themes that emerged were (a) ability to succeed, (b) academic support, (c) involvement and behavior changes, and (d) connectedness to faculty. The findings indicated that students' perception of their ability to succeed, self-motivation, family support, faculty relationships, and academic support were all contributing factors of students' achieving academic math success.