Perspectives on the critical factors for student success in developmental education : instructors and students speak

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Moore, Frances Lynn, 1956-

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The questions of how the relationship between the instructors and students affects underprepared student success and specifically how well developmental education instructors understand what underprepared students view as factors required for their success remain vague. There are still many students who are not successful in their developmental educational efforts. There needed to be an updated, clearer understanding and agreement between developmental instructors and their students on the most important factors needed for student success in developmental education programs. The purposes of this study were to explore the relationship between developmental instructors and their students regarding their individual views of what is required for developmental student success, to determine if there is room for improvement in this relationship by an increased understanding by the instructors of the meaning of what developmental students define as their personal factors for success, and to compare and contrast these findings to the established body of knowledge on student success factors in developmental education. This qualitative study is facilitated by the Interactive Qualitative Analysis method. Two focus groups; one of developmental instructors and one of developmental students were conducted. Each participant was individually interviewed, based on the affinities determined in the focus groups. Affinities were coded, and theoretical relationships were determined between the affinities. The research sample consisted of 19 instructors and 20 students. Commonalities and inconsistencies of factors and perspectives required for a successful developmental experience are determined. The study findings support the existing body of knowledge as documented in the literature and provided new insights into modern-day perceptions of underprepared students regarding the definition of factors required for success in developmental education. The findings of this study suggest that developmental education instructors and students define similar sets of success factors while they have varied opinions on the importance of the relationship between the developmental education instructor and student. The relationship between instructor and student in the developmental education environment was found to be on the same horizontal plane of importance as the degree of personal motivation of each underprepared student, progression to either end of the spectrum is driven primarily by the student.