Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Richard Flor

Abstract

This participant-oriented program evaluation study was prompted by the problem that a cohort remediation program for underprepared freshmen at a small, private university in Appalachia was implemented for 1 year and dropped without any review of the programâ??s impact on retention. The purpose of this project study was to conduct a summative program evaluation that recorded perceptions from the cohort programâ??s participants and to compare their retention rates with underprepared studentsâ?? retention rates from the subsequent yearâ??s individualized remediation. The study was guided by Tintoâ??s retention theory, which posits that academic and social integration is critical to retention. A Chi-square test was employed to compare the retention rates of underprepared students in the 2012 cohort program versus similar students in 2013 with a different remedial approach, and found no statistical significance in retention rates. Qualitative data collected sought to answer the question about cohort participantsâ?? perceptions of benefits or detriments to retention at this university. Based on content analysis of qualitative data, key findings showed communication and implementation flaws in the cohort remedial program that warranted ending it. However, continuing acceptance of underprepared students highlights the need for evidenced-based decisions about future remedial programming at this university. Local positive social change will come from presenting the evaluation report to administrative stakeholders with the power to improve programs serving underprepared students. The data gathered for this study provides the baseline retention data needed to measure gains in future remediation of underprepared students, and has a potentially wider social change, to further match which remedial program components yield gains in retention.