Date of Award

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership

Committee Director

Christopher Glass

Committee Member

Mitchell Williams

Committee Member

Linda Bol


Approximately two-thirds of incoming community college students are considered academically unprepared for college-level work and lack adequate literacy and mathematical skills needed to learn at the postsecondary level. To address these realities, individual community colleges and state-wide systems have responded by redesigning developmental curricula and course structures into modularized programs that accelerate student progression through developmental sequences. Simultaneously, community colleges are hiring more adjunct faculty to meet the ever-growing demand to educate students in these programs.

Data were collected for a study of the Virginia Community College System 2012 developmental math redesign to primarily examine the effects of adjunct faculty on student success in the modularized developmental math program. Secondary data analysis was conducted utilizing student characteristics. This study posed two research questions and 16 hypotheses. Logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the factors believed to have an impact on student pass rates in total and from grouped developmental pathways individually. Predictor variables used to measure the effect on achieving a passing grade were: faculty employment status, student race/ethnicity, gender, and age and institutional location— rural, urban, and suburban, were examined.

This study examined secondary data of 48,765 first-time-in-college students who were enrolled in Virginia community colleges’ redesigned developmental math modules beginning in fall 2013, 2014 and 2015. Findings indicate the following: having an adjunct faculty increased the likelihood of students passing all nine modules but especially the earlier modules that make up 1-5; traditional-age students were more likely to be successful overall compared to non-traditional age students; student enrollment in urban and rural community colleges were negatively associated with achieving a passing grade. Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino and male students had lower pass-rates than White and female students overall and in developmental pathway. Black or African-American students by comparison had considerably lower pass-rates across all developmental modules than their non-Black peers.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).