Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Linda Serra Hagedorn


The focus of this study was to investigate the developmental climb of students at one large Midwestern community college based on their Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) placement scores in remedial mathematics. Specifically, the purpose of this research study was to assess and explore the predictors of student progression and their progression rates in remedial math at this college. Remediation is important because of the nature of the community college with its open access that attracts underprepared students. Further, community colleges are growing in popularity and are often used as a stepping stone for students who may be underprepared to enter four-year institutions.

The conceptual framework used for this investigation of remedial students at one community college was the Developmental Climb of Hagedorn, Lester, and Cypres (2010), who focused on the nature of remedial/developmental courses and the difficulty of progression through the sequence to college-level math.

This study examined 2,172 students’ transcript data and demographic information from a secondary data source at one Midwestern community college. The data set was followed for four consecutive terms starting in Fall 2015 and ending in Fall 2016. Using quantitative research analysis, including descriptive analysis and logistic regression, the researcher hypothesized which factors contributed to the students’ remedial math progression to college-level math.

The results indicated that there is a slight demographic difference in this community college sample compared to community college students nationally. This college is trending toward more of a four-year institution population where the majority are White, female, non Pell grant eligible, and of a traditional college age (18-22). A significant difference lies in the fact that over 50% of the students were placed in remedial math per their college-mandated ALEKS score. Of those, more non White females and nontraditional aged students were placed in remedial math compared to students placed in college-level math.

Additionally, progression rates for the remedial students were identified showing that many did not complete the full sequence of courses in developmental math, nor did most remedial students reach college-level math. Utilizing logistic regression, the progression model for the remedial students showed that race, gender, and academic standing were predictors of student progression in remedial math. The logistic model for college-level progression found that the ALEKS score, math grades, and good academic standing were predictors of student progression to college-level math.

The findings generated implications for policymakers, administrators, faculty, and students. Depending on the stakeholder, remedial math can look very different. To the policymaker and administrator, these findings can indicate a serious problem in completion and enrollment. For the faculty member, the classroom is more likely filled with similarly skilled students who may or may not do well. And for the student, remedial math can pose either the opportunity to achieve college-level math or failure to because of the barriers of limited time and financial resources. According to this study, community college students are not progressing in remedial math at high rates; therefore, each stakeholder has specific decisions to make as to their approach to it.

Copyright Owner

Jeanice Ann McCarville Kerber



File Format


File Size

123 pages