Megan CordesFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Jennifer Courduff


Developmental Math, Math Emporium Model, Phenomenology, Remedial Education, Self-Efficacy, Transcendental Phenomenology


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Higher Education | Higher Education and Teaching | Science and Mathematics Education


Current literature suggests the rise of enrollment among United States (U.S.) postsecondary institutions but the decline in graduation rates. While there is extensive quantitative data examining course redesigns and increasing student achievement in developmental math courses, there is limited research examining students' experiences and perceptions within these courses. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to examine the experiences and perceptions of developmental math students. This study utilized the theoretical framework of Bandura's (1997) social cognitive theory and Tinto's (2012a) retention theory. Research questions focused on the lived experience of struggling within a developmental math course, past math experiences and attitudes, and current perceptions of developmental math placement and math emporium model. Purposeful sampling was used to identify 13 students who did not pass a developmental math course at a private four-year postsecondary institution. Data collection included formal response questions, interviews, and Self Description Questionnaire III (SDQ III). All data were analyzed through traditional phenomenological analysis methods of bracketing, horizonalization, clustering into themes, textural descriptions, structural descriptions, and textural-structural synthesis (Moustakas, 1994). Provisional codes were used for the initial review of the interview data to cluster significant statements into themes. The study revealed themes of (a) isolation, (b) self-doubt and negative attitudes towards developmental math, (c) success clouded by inability to progress, (d) fixed mindset, (e) experiences with teachers, (f) expected placement, (g) good placement, (h) desire for change, (i) overall positive experience with staff, and (j) change in math confidence.