Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Barbara Schirmer


Despite evidence that underprepared college students benefit from literacy support, students who take developmental courses are less likely to earn a degree or certificate. Many community colleges have implemented redesigned developmental coursework models to improve student success, but there is a gap in practice on redesigns that involve an accelerated, blended model of instruction. This quantitative, causal-comparative study using archival data was based on Knowles’ theory of adult learning that postulates adults exhibit self-awareness, internal motivation, and independent initiatives in learning. The purpose was to compare students who took a blended, accelerated developmental reading course and students who took a traditional developmental reading course. The research questions addressed differences in successful course completion rates and reading growth using archived data from 443 students. Course completion rates and reading growth were compared using a t test for independent samples and a chi-square analysis. Results showed statistically significantly higher course completion rates and comparable reading growth for students in blended, accelerated developmental reading courses compared to students in traditional courses. Tests of effect size presented weak associations between course format and course completion rates and between course format and reading growth. The results provided the foundation for a curriculum plan comprising a blended, accelerated model of developmental reading instruction to promote positive social change by allowing adult learners to increase literacy skills and complete developmental reading courses in a shorter amount of time, contributing to increases in retention.