Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kelly S. Hall


At Hillcrest Community College (HCC; pseudonym) most developmental education (DE) students do not progress in their studies from DE to college-credit-bearing courses required to matriculate toward earning a credential. Student engagement is important for student success, but HCC had never completed a study of student engagement among its DE students. The purpose of this quantitative goal-based evaluation was to compare HCC DE student engagement with the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) national norms to determine if engagement contributed to the problem. Kuh's theory of student engagement was the theoretical basis of the study, and the overarching research question sought to clarify the extent to which HCC students were engaged. Institutional data archived from the 2016 CCSSE administered to HCC students (N = 169) and national data calculated by CCSSE (N = 211,168) were used for analysis using a one-sample t test. The primary research question was evaluated via 5 secondary questions associated with 5 CCSSE benchmarks. Secondary research questions were evaluated by testing 38 hypotheses for indicators associated with benchmarks. Null hypotheses were retained for 33 of 38 indicators using Cohen's d + .50 a priori criterion established for magnitude of effect size. Study results indicated that HCC DE students are mostly similar to DE students nationally in terms of engagement except for their use of computer labs. Evaluation report recommendations included maintaining existing engagement programs for DE students at HCC with attention to increasing DE student use of computer labs, and continuing to monitor engagement as future CCSSE data becomes available. HCC can benefit from an awareness that its DE students are engaged and can seek other ways to improve DE student outcomes and related benefits for positive social change at HCC.