Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
This project study was an evaluation of a first year learning community program for community college students enrolled in developmental coursework at a community college in California. The program had never been evaluated. The evaluation used learning community students' and faculty members' perception as a basis for evaluation, specifically concentrating on areas that promoted student success and areas that needed further refinement. Only former program participants and the program faculty members were eligible for the study. Of the 78 eligible participants, responses from 51 students and the 2 faculty members were collected. The theoretical framework was grounded in Tinto's work with learning communities. Data for the evaluation were collected using surveys with open-ended questions as well as interviews with faculty. The qualitative analysis required theme identification using key words from the surveys and interviews. The results from the study indicated that the learning community provided a social support for student learning that was considered a strength for the program but that various elements of programming such as class scheduling and policies were considered areas needing improvement. The project evaluation resulted in an administrative evaluation report. The findings may be incorporated as recommendations for program improvements and documentation of best practices at the community college. The implication for positive social change is that other community colleges may be able to use the recommendations generated in the report to improve their learning community programs so that their students might be encouraged to persist towards degree completion.