Exploring Developmental Mathematics from Faculty Members’ Perspectives: How Internal and External Dynamics Influence Student Success in a Community College

  • Jeffrey S. Brooks Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Keywords: developmental mathematics, student success


Exploring Developmental Mathematics in Community College: Faculty Members’ Perspectives on How Internal and External Dynamics Influence Student Success     Abstract   Objective: Recent studies have shown that successful completion of developmental mathematics can impact a students' academic achievement and completion of their educational goals. However, few students have examined the internal and external dynamics that can influence a students' level of engagement in developmental mathematics. To identify the internal and external factors that influence students‘ success at developmental mathematics courses at a community college based on the opinions of developmental mathematics instructors, class room observations, and institutional documents. The following research question guided the study: What internal and external dynamics influence student success in developmental mathematics at a community college? Method: We chose to conduct an exploratory case study using qualitative methods of data collection; interviews with developmental mathematics instructors, observations of developmental mathematics classes, and analysis of documents to understand the issue from multiple perspectives. Data were collected from developmental mathematics instructors at a community college located in the northern region of the east coast. Results: Findings indicated that internal dynamics related to the need for changes in institutional policies and guidelines can influence success in mathematics. External dynamics such as secondary schooling practices and local businesses involvement in the curriculum can weaken or strengthen the mathematics pipeline and influence student engagement. Contributions: This study uncovers some of the internal and external dynamics that can influence a students‘ engagement in developmental mathematics and subsequently her/his probability of achieving desired educational outcomes. Therefore, we discuss the importance for institutional leaders and external partners to examine practices that may impede student academic achievement.



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