Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning


Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Mitchell Williams

Committee Member

John Nunnery

Committee Member

Natalie Harder


This research study examined the 2006 cohort of First-Time-in-College students from all 23 community colleges in Virginia. The goal was to examine the persistence of these students to the fall 2007 semester and the success of these students in their first college-level mathematics course. The main predictor variable was whether the first mathematics course taken was a developmental or college-level course. Other main predictor variables examined were the age, gender, and race and ethnicity of the student. Race and ethnicity was broken into the categories White, Black, and Other. Interaction variables were created to determine if age, race and ethnicity, or gender moderates the effects of developmental status for both persistence and success in the first college level mathematics course, and a model was created using all main and interaction predictor variables to determine to what extent each variable accounts for persistence and success. It was found that neither gender nor race and ethnicity moderates developmental status for either persistence or success, but age moderates both success and persistence. Developmental courses are more effective for traditionally aged students and developmental courses are positively related to the persistence of non-traditionally aged students and negatively related to the persistence of traditionally aged students. The predictor variables developmental status, age, race and ethnicity, and gender are all significantly related to both the success and persistence of students. The effect of developmental status on both success and persistence is weak. Non-developmental status, female, non-traditionally aged, and non-Black race and ethnicity are all positively related to the success of students in their first college-level mathematics course. Non-developmental status, female, traditionally aged, non-White and non-Black race and ethnicities are all positively related to the fall-to-fall persistence of students.