An Examination of Resources that Impact the Learning Experience of Underprepared Community College Students in a Redesigned Co-Requisite Statistics Course

No Thumbnail Available
Smith, Derek
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Middle Tennessee State University
Students entering post-secondary institutions underprepared for their college-level mathematics requirements are often required to enroll in developmental courses. These classes typically do not count towards graduation requirements and result in added time and money for a student’s program of study. Furthermore, the literature has found that students just below the threshold of college-ready classification have experienced negative effects related to persistence, which may be explained by the frustration of the additional course work and the stigma some individuals experience when labeled a remedial student. Various reform efforts have been introduced to restructure the curricula and instructional methods to reduce the amount of time needed for underprepared students to satisfy their educational requirements.
This study focused on a co-requisite model, in which underprepared community college students enrolled in a college-level Statistics course along with a weekly support lab to address their academic needs. The underprepared sample was divided into two subgroups, better-prepared (near the college-level placement cut score) and least-prepared. An analysis of covariance was used to conduct two comparisons on the final course average, controlling for high school grade point average: college-ready and better-prepared students, as well as better-prepared and least-prepared students. There was no statistically significant difference in the final course average between the college-ready and better-prepared students, indicating those near the threshold of college-ready classification scored on par with their peers. Alternatively, the better-prepared students scored significantly higher on the final course average than their least-prepared classmates.
In addition, interviews were conducted with six underprepared students to examine their perception of the impact of the course resources on their learning experience. The researcher analyzed the data from a holistic perspective and identified three emerging themes. First, the learning aids available in the online course management system helped students become self-directed learners. Second, the support lab served as a time management mechanism that some participants used to stay ahead of schedule. Third, the classroom instructors provided detailed conceptual explanations that supplemented the lab instructors’ emphasis of procedural fluency.
The results of the study offered promising outcomes for better-prepared students who would have traditionally been assigned to a developmental course. Continuing efforts are needed, however, to explore interventions that will best serve the least-prepared students.
Community College, Co-Requisite Model, Course Redesign, Developmental Education, Statistics, Underprepared Students