A comprehensive developmental education program for the underprepared college freshman

With the influx of low achieving students, institutions of higher education face the problem of underprepared college freshman who cannot read, write, or compute at acceptable levels. Many colleges have implemented developmental education departments to coordinate and promote remedial efforts. The purpose of this study was to analyze the current programs for the underprepared college student at Loma Linda University Riverside (Freshman Seminar class, Black Mentor program, Hispanic Mentor program, Gateway to College, and Freshman Study Support program) and to recommend modifications. A survey of literature identified the programs' components which best contribute to the academic advancement of college freshman.

The research questions and hypotheses applied to the evaluation of the five programs. The research question sought assessment of the results from participation in these five programs in terms of the four outcomes of successful completion of 12 units, cumulative grade point average, attrition, and retention and the relationship of six demographic variables (gender, major, residence, ethnic affiliation, verbal test scores, and math test scores). The null hypothesis for both research questions stated that no significant relationship exists between participation, the four outcomes, and the six variables. All statistical findings resulting in a.05 level of probability or lower were determined to be of significance.

The literature surveyed proposes that the following should be included in learning support programs for underprepared college freshman: involvement of faculty and staff, diagnosis and evaluation of student needs, mandated basic-skills courses; support services, learning centers, freshman orientation sessions, summer-entry programs, and appropriate funding.

Significant results were found for the attrition and retention in the Freshman Seminar class. More students stayed in school their freshman year and more students returned the following year among those who participated in the program compared to those who did not. Other significant findings for the Black Mentor program and the Gateway to College showed that participation seemed to affect students adversely in successful completion of 12 units, attrition, and retention.

General recommendations gleaned from this research include exploring the need for minority student programming, the role of financial assistance, and the non-academic factors that affect attrition and retention.

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Publication Date:
L D Mayer
Order Information:
Full text not available online. Database: ProQuest Digital Dissertations. Completed through Loma Linda University.
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Papers & Plans
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Religious Origin:
Seventh-day Adventist