What it means to be a developmental math student : three perspectives
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Developmental education has, in essence, become the fourth and paramount mission of today’s community colleges. Because of the ever-increasing complexity of the 21st century’s workforce, and the enhanced educational opportunities for all American citizens, community colleges have been witness to escalating enrollments. However, not all of the students are prepared to meet the demands of collegiate expectations. Many new and returning students lack certain basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. This has placed a new burden upon the nation’s community colleges to cultivate and implement innovative and meaningful developmental programs in order to meet the challenges of this new imperative. Great strides have been made, but with the increasing number of students lacking certain basic skills on the rise, these issues will be concerns for community colleges in the coming decades. This study accepts the ontological assumption associated with Constructivism, i.e. that multiple realties exist that are time and context dependent. Therefore qualitative methods are employed in order to gain an understanding of the constructions held by people in that context. Hence the following research questions will be addressed: • How do developmental students view themselves as college students? • How do non-developmental students view themselves as college students? • How do developmental teachers view their students? • How do these three views compare? Qualitative methodologies have become the main technique by which social science research is conducted. By abandoning the positivists’ worldview of objective reality, the study of human behavior has taken on new and rich meaning in the postmodern era. This study will attempt to understand the meaning that students construct about their role as college students and how they perceive their place in the educational process, so that objectivity and subjectivity can be brought together.