Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Claudia Santin


Although many academically underprepared students are able to attend community colleges via open access policies, these students struggle with completing their degrees. At a rural community college in the southeastern United States, students who tested into developmental education courses have struggled more with persistence and completion than have their college-ready counterparts. The purpose of this causal-comparative study was to evaluate the influence that student coaching had on student success in developmental math at this community college. Tinto's dropout theory and Astin's engagement theory provided the theoretical framework for a study of 62 developmental math students who were offered student coaching services during the course. Multiple one-way ANOVAs were performed to determine if student coaching had any influence on the dependent COMPASS test scores based on students' level of participation with the service. Students who participated in 0-2 coaching sessions (n = 32) had statistically significantly lower COMPASS test scores than students who participated in 3 or more coaching sessions (n = 30). None of the demographic characteristics had an effect on coaching participation. An evidence-based project designed to enhance coaching participation is offered to increase student persistence and completion. Implications for positive social change include increased success rates in developmental courses which should lead to increased persistence. Positive social change occurs when students are able to achieve incremental successes in their developmental courses, which could better leverage them to achieve subsequent higher education goals of degree completion and to pursue careers with better salaries associated with higher education completers.