An analysis of the usefulness of developmental study courses in higher education principles of economics courses.

No Thumbnail Available
Plummer, Jerry
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Middle Tennessee State University
This study will look at the usefulness of the Developmental Studies (DS) program at Middle Tennessee State University as it relates to success in Principles of Economics courses. The study looks at three particular areas: (1) Is there a significant difference in the Principles of Economics course grades (performance) for students who first complete the Developmental Studies program versus students concurrently taking both Principles of Economics and Developmental Studies courses? (2) Is there a significant difference in the grades of the Developmental Studies student versus the student with an ACT score of 17-18, or the student with an ACT score of less than 16 who is not in the Developmental Studies program? (3) Which, if any, Developmental Studies fields offer assistance in improving performance in the Principles of Economics grades, and to what extent?
The study utilizes a population of 775 students who took Principles of Economics at Middle Tennessee State University during the Spring, Summer and Fall Semesters of 1989. Of these students 542 were enrolled in the Developmental Studies program; the remaining 233 were not enrolled in the DS program, but had ACT scores between 17 and 18, or ACT scores below 17 and passed the entrance qualifications to bypass the DS program.
Binomial and multinomial logit regressions are used to test for a difference in performance measured first by a pass-fail approach, then on a grade by grade range basis.
The study's results showed first that the Developmental Studies program brought the DS student up to the level of the two other groups, the group just above the ACT cutoff score of sixteen and the group that tested out of the DS program, but not above. Second, completion of at least one Developmental Studies math course should occur for DS students before taking Principles of Economics. Third, these DS students possibly should be guided toward enrollment in Principles of Economics classes that meet more than once per week.