Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

George McMeen

Abstract

Attrition for entry-level, non-traditional college students taking developmental reading courses is a concern for higher education institutions. Students need to complete basic developmental reading courses in order to progress in their vocational or collegiate studies. This phenomenological study followed a social constructivist approach to attempt to understand what developmental reading students and faculty experience regarding persistence. The key research question examined the perceptions and understandings of college students and faculty involved in college entry level, non-traditional developmental reading classes regarding the factors impacting student persistence at a local community college. Using interviews, surveys, and participant journals, data were collected from 3 non-traditional, developmental reading students, who were over 24 years of age, and 3 of their instructors. Interview data were transcribed and all data were analyzed using open coding and thematic analysis. The themes discovered from both student and instructor perspectives were that student-centered instruction, experiential learning, and critical reflection were all methods for improving developmental reading student persistence. Implications for positive social change include providing research findings to the local site that might be used to improve student retention in developmental reading courses.