Research in Higher Education

, Volume 56, Issue 7, pp 719–749 | Cite as

Increasing Success Rates in Developmental Math: The Complementary Role of Individual and Institutional Characteristics

  • Kristen E. Fong
  • Tatiana Melguizo
  • George Prather
Article

Abstract

This study tracks students’ progression through developmental math sequences and defines progression as both attempting and passing each level of the sequence. A model of successful progression in developmental education was built utilizing individual-, institutional-, and developmental math-level factors. Employing step-wise logistic regression models, we found that while each additional step improves model fit, the largest proportion of variance is explained by individual-level characteristics, and more variance is explained in attempting each level than passing that level. We identify specific individual and institutional factors associated with higher attempt (e.g., Latino) and passing rates (e.g., small class size) in the different courses of the developmental math trajectory. These findings suggest that colleges should implement programs and policies to increase attempt rates in developmental courses in order to increase passing rates of the math pre-requisite courses for specific certificates, associate degrees or transfer.

Keywords

Developmental education Community colleges Math education 

References

  1. Akerhielm, K. (1995). Does class size matter? Economics of Education Review, 14(3), 229–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Attewell, P., Lavin, D., Domina, T., & Levey, T. (2006). New evidence on college remediation. Journal of Higher Education, 77(5), 886–924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bahr, P. R. (2008). Does mathematics remediation work?: A comparative analysis of academic attainment among community college students. Research in Higher Education, 49, 420–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bahr, P. R. (2009). Educational attainment as process: Using hierarchical discrete-time event history analysis to model rate of progress. Research in Higher Education, 50(7), 691–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bahr, P. R. (2010). Preparing the underprepared: An analysis of racial disparities in postsecondary mathematics remediation. Journal of Higher Education, 81(2), 209–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bahr, P. R. (2012). Deconstructing remediation in community colleges: Exploring associations between course-taking patterns, course outcomes, and attrition from the remedial math and remedial writing sequences. Research in Higher Education, 53, 661–693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bahr, P. R. (2013). The deconstructive approach to understanding college students’ pathways and outcomes. Community College Review, 41(2), 137–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bailey, T. (2009a). Challenge and opportunity: Rethinking the role and function of developmental education in community college. New Directions for Community Colleges, 145, 11–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bailey, T. (2009b). Rethinking remedial education in community college. New York, NY: Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  10. Bailey, T., Jeong, D. W., & Cho, S. (2010). Referral, enrollment, and completion in developmental education sequences in community colleges. Economics of Education Review, 29, 255–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bettinger, E. P., & Long, B. T. (2005). Remediation at the community college: Student participation and outcomes. New Directions for Community Colleges, 129, 17–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bettinger, E. P., & Long, B. T. (2007). Institutional responses to reduce inequalities in college outcomes: Remedial and developmental courses in Higher Education. In S. Dickert-Conlin & R. Rubenstein (Eds.), Economic Inequality in higher education: access, persistence, and success. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation Press.Google Scholar
  13. Boatman, A., & Long, B. T. (2010). Does remediation work for all students? How the effects of postsecondary remedial and developmental courses vary by level of academic preparation (NCPR Working Paper). New York, NY: National Center for Postsecondary Research.Google Scholar
  14. Bremer, C. D., Center, B. A., Opsal, C. L., Medhanie, A., Jang, Y. J., & Geise, A. C. (2013). Outcome trajectories of developmental students in community colleges. Community College Review, 41(2), 154–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Breneman, D., & Harlow, W. (1998). Remedial education: Costs and consequences. Fordham Report, 2(9), 1–22.Google Scholar
  16. Burgess, L. A., & Samuels, C. (1999). Impact of full-time versus part-time instructor status on college student retention and academic performance in sequential courses. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 23(5), 487–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Calcagno, J. C., Bailey, T., Jenkins, D., Kienzl, G., & Leinbach, T. (2008). Community college student success: What institutional characteristics make a difference? Economics of Education Review, 27(6), 632–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Calcagno, J. C., Crosta, P., Bailey, T., & Jenkins, D. (2007). Does age of entrance affect community college completion probabilities? Evidence from a discrete-time hazard model. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 29, 218–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (1999). Understanding funding, finance and budgeting: A manager’s handbook. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED432331.pdf.
  20. California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (2011). Basic skills accountability: Supplement to the ARCC Report. Retrieved from http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/Portals/0/reportsTB/2011_Basic_Skills_Accountability_Report_[Final]_Combined.pdf.
  21. Chen, H. (2005). First generation students in postsecondary education: A look at their college transcripts (NCES 2005-171). Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  22. Choy, S. P. (2002). Access and persistence: Findings from 10 years of longitudinal research on students. Washington, DC: American Council on Education, Center for Policy Analysis.Google Scholar
  23. Cohen, A. M., & Brawer, F. B. (2008). The American community college (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  24. Crisp, G., & Delgado, C. (2014). The impact of developmental education on community college persistence and vertical transfer. Community College Review, 42(2), 99–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Crisp, G., & Nora, A. (2010). Hispanic student success: Factors influencing the persistence and transfer decisions of Latino community college students enrolled in developmental education. Research in Higher Education, 51, 175–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087–1101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fike, D. S., & Fike, R. (2007). Does faculty employment status impact developmental mathematics outcomes? Journal of Developmental Education, 31(1), 2–11.Google Scholar
  28. Finn, J. D., Pannozzo, G. M., & Achilles, C. M. (2003). The “why’s” or class size: Student behavior in small classes. Review of Educational Research, 73(3), 321–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gándara, P., Alvarado, E., Driscoll, A., & Orfield, G. (2012). Building pathways to transfer: Community colleges that break the chain of failure for students of color. Los Angeles, CA: The Civil Rights Project, University of California, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  30. Glenn, D., & Wagner, W. (2006). Cost and consequences of remedial course enrollment in Ohio public higher education: Six-year outcomes for fall 1998 cohort. Paper presented at the Association of Institutional Research Forum, Chicago. Retrieved from http://regents.ohio.gov/perfrpt/special_reports/Remediation_Consequences_2006.pdf.
  31. Grimes, S. K., & David, K. C. (1999). Underprepared community college students: Implications of attitudinal and experiential differences. Community College Review, 27(2), 73–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grubb, W. N. (2012). Basic skills education in community colleges: Inside and outside of classrooms. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Hagedorn, L. S., Chi, W., Cepeda, R. M., & McLain, M. (2007). An investigation of critical mass: The role of Latino representation in the success of urban community college students. Research in Higher Education, 48(1), 73–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hagedorn, L. S., & DuBray, D. (2010). Math and science success and nonsuccess: Journeys within the community college. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 16(1), 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hagedorn, L. S., Siadat, M. V., Fogel, S. F., Nora, A., & Pascarella, E. T. (1999). Success in college mathematics: Comparisons between remedial and nonremedial first-year college students. Research in Higher Education, 40(3), 261–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hawley, T. H., & Harris, T. A. (2005–2006). Student characteristics related to persistence for first-year community college students. Journal of College Student Retention, 7(1–2), 117–142.Google Scholar
  37. Horn, L., & Nevill, S. (2006). Profile of undergraduates in U.S. postsecondary education institutions: 2003–04: With a special analysis of community college students (NCES-184). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  38. Hoyt, J. E. (1999). Remedial education and student attrition. Community College Review, 27, 51–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Krueger, A. B. (2003). Economic considerations and class size. The Economic Journal, 113(485), F34–F63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Large Urban Community College District, Office of Institutional Research. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.LUCCD.edu/ (pseudonym).
  41. Lazarick, L. (1997). Back to the basics: Remedial education. Community College Journal, 68, 11–15.Google Scholar
  42. Legislative Analyst’s Office. (2012). The 2012-13 budget: Analysis of the Governor’s higher education proposal. Retrieved from http://www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/2012/highered/higher-ed-020812.aspx.
  43. Martorell, P., McFarlin Jr., I., & Xue, Y. (2013). Does failing a placement exam discourage underprepared students from going to college? (NPC Working paper #11-14). University of Michigan: National Poverty Center.Google Scholar
  44. Melguizo, T. (2011). A review of the theories developed to describe the process of college persistence and attainment. In J. C. Smart & M. B. Paulsen (Eds.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (pp. 395–424). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Melguizo, T., Bos, H., & Prather, G. (2013). Using a regression discontinuity design to estimate the impact of placement decisions in developmental math in Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD). (CCCC Working Paper). Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California: California Community College Collaborative. Retrieved from http://www.uscrossier.org/pullias/research/projects/sc-community-college/.
  46. Melguizo, T., Hagedorn, L. S., & Cypers, S. (2008). The need for remedial/developmental education and the cost of community college transfer: Calculations from a sample of California community college transfers. The Review of Higher Education, 31(4), 401–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Melguizo, T., & Kosiewicz, H. (2013). The role of race, income, and funding on student success: An institutional level analysis of California community colleges. In The Century Foundation Task Force on Preventing Community Colleges from Becoming Separate and Unequal (Ed.), Bridging the higher education divide: Strengthening community colleges and restoring the American dream (pp. 137–156). New York, NY: The Century Foundation.Google Scholar
  48. Melguizo, T., Kosiewicz, H., Prather, G., & Bos, H. (2014). How are community college students assessed and placed in developmental math? Grounding our understanding in reality. Journal of Higher Education, 85(5), 691–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nakajima, M. A., Dembo, M. H., & Mossler, R. (2012). Student persistence in community colleges. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 36(8), 591–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ngo, F., & Kwon, F. (2014). Using multiple measures to make math placement decisions: Implications for access and success in community colleges. Research in Higher Education. Google Scholar
  51. Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  52. Perin, D. (2006). The location of developmental education in community colleges: A discussion of the merits of mainstreaming vs. centralization. Community College Review, 30(1), 27–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Perry, M., Bahr, P. R., Rosin, M., & Woodward, K. M. (2010). Course-taking patterns, policies, and practices in developmental education in the California community colleges. Mountain View, CA: EdSource. Retrieved from http://www.edsource.org/assets/files/ccstudy/FULL-CC-DevelopmentalCoursetaking.pdf.
  54. Safran, S., & Visher, M. G. (2010). Case studies of three community colleges: The policy and practice of assessing and placing students in developmental education courses (NCPR Working Paper). New York, NY: National Center for Postsecondary Research, Teachers College, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  55. Schmid, C., & Abell, P. (2003). Demographic risk factors, study patterns, and campus involvement as related to student success among Guilford Technical Community College students. Community College Review, 31(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schneider, M., & Yin, L. (2011). The hidden costs of community colleges. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Strong American Schools. (2008). Diploma to nowhere. Retrieved from http://www.edin08.com.
  58. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2013). Developmental education best practices. Retrieved from http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/download.cfm?downloadfile=B85F46FD-F0A7-A0E7-53324B738D5631E3&typename=dmFile&fieldname=filename.
  59. U. S. Department of Education. (1994). National Center for Educational Statistics, Report on the state of remedial education, 1992–1993. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
  60. Wassmer, R., Moore, C., & Schulock, N. (2004). Effect of racial/ethnic composition on transfer rates in community colleges: Implications for policy and practice. Research in Higher Education, 45(6), 651–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen E. Fong
    • 1
  • Tatiana Melguizo
    • 1
  • George Prather
    • 2
  1. 1.Pullias Center for Higher Education, Rossier School of EducationUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Los AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations