Developmental mathematics education: a study of remedial mathematics programs in Alabama community colleges
With open door admission policies, lower tuition rates, and convenient locations, community colleges are enrolling more and more academically unprepared students who are placing into developmental mathematics courses. Many of these community colleges need to assess their developmental education programs, instructors, courses, and students to determine if they are providing an effective developmental experience for students. The purpose of this study is to determine if students at selected Alabama community colleges are involved in remedial mathematics activities that are documented in the literature as best practices. Using student surveys, student focus groups, and faculty interviews from students and instructors currently involved in developmental mathematics courses, data were collected from three selected Alabama community colleges. Data analysis for the study incorporated qualitative and quantitative methodologies which were used to establish common themes in developmental math courses with an emphasis on best teaching and learning practices. The results of the study provided strong feedback and opinions on the topic of developmental mathematics education by students and faculty. By addressing the findings in this study with a renovation and/or revitalization of identified student services, updated placement testing procedures, and faculty professional development on the specific needs of developmental mathematics students, community colleges may find that numerous facets of their developmental education programs will incorporate and model documented best teaching and learning practices. The findings also led to suggestions for future research.