REDESIGNING DEVELOPMENTAL MATH TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY COLLEGE RETENTION RATES AND STUDENT SUCCESS

Date
2021-05
Authors
Schiano, Brittany Ann
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Centenary University
Abstract
When looking at today’s Community College graduation rates, dropout rates and time to completion of degrees, it is abundantly clear that a problem exists. This study examined the characteristics of community colleges in New Jersey and student experiences that contribute to the dismal statistics. Mathematics curriculum in P-12 falls short on preparing students for the gatekeeper community college courses, creating barriers that make it difficult for students to meet their degree requirements to graduate. The study explored the potential benefits of completely eliminating the developmental mathematics requirement and offering students the opportunity to earn credits in their first semester. The researcher used a qualitative approach consisting of interviews with 11 community college developmental mathematics professors. After reflecting upon questions regarding the need to or not need to remediate certain topics and how to incorporate that refresher in the constructs of a credit earning algebra course, as well as the overall effectiveness of current developmental programs across the state, they agreed that a redesign incorporating a Just-in- Time scaffolding approach would benefit both the students and schools as a whole. In addition, creating a statewide network with a uniform mathematics program would allow schools to work together and be more efficient in attempting to mitigate the issue. Finally, courses made to reflect the student’s major would increase buy-in, focus, and the perception of equity for the student later in their educational career and beyond. Once this occurs, students of community colleges will meet with a higher success rate, finish their Associate’s Degree in the prescribed two years, and transition seamlessly into a four-year institution or career upon graduating from community college.
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