A predictive model on identifying successful institutional practices designed to enhance the performance of community college developmental students
To keep the promise of providing successful higher education experience to all students, community colleges need to identify effective practices to enhance success for students coming through developmental education programs. Despite the existence of a wealth of research studies on student success in higher education which are focused on four-year institutions, few have generated concrete insights on community college students, who are more likely to be minority, non-residential, part-time, first-generation college students, and working adults with families. Therefore, community colleges are seeking theoretical models generated based upon empirical studies focused on developmental students to identify and design effective practices to enhance the success of those students. The purpose of this study was to develop a theoretical, predictive model, focused on developmental education student success, by examining the correlations between student characteristics and student success via intervening variables of student engagement. This study used data from spring 2004 Florida statewide Community College Survey of Student Engagement and the Florida State Student Database. Findings of this study supported the theoretical framework that student characteristics are predictors of student success, and the impacts of student characteristics on student success are affected by student engagement, which can be influenced by institutional practices. Therefore, community colleges may develop effective institutional policies and practices focusing on student engagement to increase developmental education student success. In addition, this study assists in identifying best practices which in turn provides valuable information to community colleges in reference to the most endangered students. Moreover, the model, which provided guidelines for institutional researchers including the operational definitions of all variables, the statistical analysis used, the methods of data collection, and identification of needed instrument, enables community colleges to monitor the progresses of institutional practices and keep moving forward in a changing environment.