Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Linda Champney


In 2012, national rates of degree or certificate completion for students beginning college in developmental education courses were 35%. At a Midwestern state community college completion rates were even lower, with only 27% of developmental reading/writing (DRW) students completing their program. Therefore, the purpose of this causal- comparative study was to compare success rates for DRW students beginning college in a multileveled (MLI) program and in a response to intervention (RtI) based program. The MLI program was grounded in a scaffolded learning framework, and the RtI program was grounded in a transformative learning framework. Four research questions were posited to identify the associations between success rates (course completion, persistence, retention, and credential completion) for students enrolled in the MLI program and students enrolled in the RtI program. Archival data for a census sample of 13,731 DRW students were analyzed. The chi-square test was used to determine whether associations existed between instructional groups for each dependent variable. Findings confirmed a significant association between instructional group and success factors, with students in the RtI group showing higher success rates for course completion, persistence, and retention than the MLI group. However, the MLI group showed higher success rates for credential completion than the RtI group. Further research will need to investigate the reasons for the divergent outcomes such as the fact that MLI program students began college two years before RtI program students. Implications for social change include an instructional model that may contribute to increased course completion, persistence, retention, and credential completion for DRW students, which is discussed in the appended position paper.