Date of Award

Spring 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Mary H. Duggan

Committee Member

Judy B. McMillan

Committee Member

Steve Myran


With the current emphasis on accountability and the importance of math skills in our present economy, the success of developmental mathematics students at community colleges is critical. How to improve the success of these developmental students has become the impetus for many educational initiatives. One educational innovation in tutoring, called supplemental instruction, has been successfully applied to high-risk courses which are defined to have a failure rate in excess of 30%. Mid-Atlantic Community College, in its Title III grant which seeks to improve the success of developmental students, selected supplemental instruction as its initiative. This program evaluation investigated the effects of supplemental instruction on the learning gains, persistence, course completion, metacognitive and study skills of the developmental math students at Mid-Atlantic Community College. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used in this research study.

The researcher confirmed that the application of SI to developmental math at the community college did positively impact students' learning gains, persistence, and course completion when comparing SI classes to non-SI classes. The MSLQ revealed a positive impact in the areas of help-seeking and organization for SI students. The researcher also found a much larger withdrawal rate during the semester among non-SI students. The program evaluation revealed some aspects of the SI program that were not fully implemented.

Near significance suggests that further investigations would be indicated in course completion rates and college persistence in a study with a larger sample size. Also, the MSLQ should be given as a pre-test with the students given feedback on how to improve their metacognitive and study strategies. Additionally, the effect on student performance of scheduling of a mandatory SI session each week should be investigated.

While much of the research on SI has been performed at four year colleges and in non-developmental courses, this study confirmed that SI can make a difference in the lives of developmental students at the community college level. The leadership of the community college is interested in the success of their developmental students and their retention, as well as the impact that SI could have on many other high risk courses.