Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership

Committee Director

Shana Pribesh (Chair)

Committee Member

Mitchell Williams

Committee Member

Alan Schwitzer


Cohen and Brawer (2008) define developmental education as serving “students who initially do not have the skills, experience, or orientation necessary to perform at a level that the institutions recognize as regular for those students” (p.290). Students in developmental education must take additional courses in the beginning of their college career in order to prepare them for credit bearing college courses. Developmental education has reached the forefront of the higher education debate in part due to the overwhelming academic need of incoming college students. Currently the number of students requiring developmental courses ranges from 50 to 75 percent (Conley & Squires, 2012). According the McMillian, Park, & Lanning (1997) the need for developmental education has increased to 55 percent from 39 percent of all entering college students over five years. This study examines the perceptions of community college students, family, and community college administrators related to developmental education. This study utilized a qualitative approach conducting 24 interviews at community colleges across the commonwealth of Virginia. Furthermore, phenomenology was used as the theoretical lens so the results would arise from the experiences of the various constituencies. This study will not only aid in the advancement of developmental education, but will add to the scholarly literature relating to developmental education at the community college.