Community college students' perspectives regarding their remedial mathematics placement
Many students are entering college under-prepared for college-level, credit bearing mathematics courses, and they are also having difficulty completing the remedial coursework that is required before they can move on to credit-bearing courses. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative research study is to gain an understanding of students' perceptions regarding their remedial mathematics placement. There is little research that takes into account student perspectives when trying to understand why so many students are entering college under-prepared for credit bearing mathematics courses. Two-hundred sixty-seven students enrolled in remedial elementary algebra math courses were asked to voluntarily complete a survey online regarding their prior math experiences and their plans to overcome their remedial placement. One-hundred fifty-nine students completed the survey and sixty-seven students volunteered to participate in a follow-up interview. Twelve of these participants were then selected for follow-up interviews to gain a more in-depth understanding of their experiences. Results of the study indicated that participants attribute their remedial mathematics placement to a lack of mathematical knowledge/understanding, time between math courses, negative experiences with teachers, a lack of effort in high school, and lack of information and guidance regarding the college placement test. Participants planned to study and see a tutor to overcome their remedial mathematics placement.