An examination of a Developmental Mathematics Sequence at a Community College in Kansas
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the number of developmental mathematics courses students are required to take with respect to students’ performance in college algebra, persistence rates, and degree completion at Butler Community College in Kansas. Also, examined was the extent to which age, gender, and ethnicity differentiated performance in college algebra, persistence rates, and degree completion for students taking developmental mathematics. A non-experimental, quantitative, retrospective, descriptive study was used. Participants were identified using archival data from Fall 2010 through Summer 2013. The criterion used to identify participants included first-time, full-time, degree seeking students, enrolled in at least one developmental mathematics course in the Fall 2010 semester. A total of six research questions were used. Two research questions were constructed to determine if there was a statistically significant difference between students’ entry developmental mathematics course and student performance in college algebra. The Welch was used to analyze the mean difference in college algebra grades and students’ entry-level developmental mathematics course, and age, gender, and ethnicity. An additional four research question were constructed to assess the relationship between entry-level developmental mathematics course enrollment, and persistence, degree completion, and demographic characteristics. Chi-squared test of independence were used to examine the relationships between the variables for the third through sixth research questions.
The findings indicated students grades in college algebra could not be differentiated by students’ placement in any particular level of developmental mathematics. Furthermore, students’ grades in college algebra could not be differentiated by age, gender, or ethnicity based on students entry-level developmental mathematics course. Chi-squared results indicated there was not a statistically significant relationship between levels of developmental mathematics and student persistence for the first year. Additionally, on the whole, there were not statistically significant differences between persistence and age, gender, and ethnicity based on entry-level developmental mathematic course. Finally, there was no relationship between completion of a degree or certificate and entry-level developmental mathematics course or by age, gender, and ethnicity by entry-level developmental mathematics course in terms of completion