Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Jennifer A. Morrow

Committee Members

Gary J. Skolits, Melinda M. Gibson, Jennifer K. Richards


The field of higher education faces many barriers in providing quality education to students, with educating underprepared students as one of the most challenging and complex (Parker, 2007). Although developmental education may have found a permanent home in community colleges exclusively, the greater concern is not the location of remediation education, but rather the impact on student success (Parker, Bustillos & Behringer, 2010).

Until students arrive at higher education institutions academically prepared to be successful in college-level courses, developmental education will continue to be a critical mission of community colleges (CCA, 2012). Too many students are lost in the developmental education pipeline, unable to progress into college-level courses or finish requirements to earn a credential (CCA, 2012). Attempting to increase student success at the community college level, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) implemented new guidelines streamlining how remediation is provided. Even with standardized guidelines, questions emerged regarding how developmental education is delivered on individual campuses, perceptions of program effectiveness, and the impact on student grades and progression rates.

The purpose of current study was to conduct a state-wide evaluation of learning support delivery methods in the thirteen community colleges across the state of Tennessee. Additionally, the study sought to understand how learning support is delivered, perceptions of key stakeholders, and overall effectiveness of learning support in regards to student success indicators such as grades and progression. A mixed methods approach was utilized to collect qualitative and quantitative measures from learning support coordinators and faculty members. Student success was evaluated through system-wide archival student data from the Fall 2015 cohort.

The results from this study can shed light on what is happening on individual community college campuses in terms of student success. Stakeholders at both the institution level and state level will gain data to inform policy and procedure mandates driving student success initiatives. Findings from the study could potentially be used to increase academic success in both developmental education and college-level courses, ultimately enhancing progression of students and expand the number of students successfully earning a credential in the State of Tennessee.

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