Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Increasing numbers of underprepared students throughout the United States must enroll in college remedial math courses, which delays students’ graduation and increases withdrawal rates. Two-thirds of first-year college students at a rural community college in the southeastern United States were required to enroll in remedial mathematics. Only 65% completed the course. Guided by Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy, which maintains that belief in one’s ability improves success, the purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the perceptions of instructors, administrators, and students to explain the gap in performance in remedial mathematics and to use the results of this study to identify strategies to improve student performance. The study incorporated semi structured interviews with purposeful sampling of 15 remedial math students, 4 remedial math instructors, and the head of the mathematics department. Perceptions of the students and instructors were coded to identify and analyze emerging themes. Findings revealed the following themes: effectiveness of the remedial class, teaching and learning preferences, obstacles to learning, and suggestions for improvement. These findings led to the development of a 3-day professional development project to develop instructional strategies to improve students’ skills in task managing goals, tasks, and challenges; and to collaborate with local school districts to develop strategies to improve student performance in college mathematics. The study provides teachers and administrators with strategies that may lead to improved student preparation and success in remedial math, and opportunities to collaborate with local high schools to reduce the number of students requiring remedial mathematics.