Date of Award

Spring 1983

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Maurice R. Berube

Committee Member

Timothy Kerr

Committee Member

Janis Sanchez-Hucles

Committee Member

Dwight Newell


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of developmental/remedial education at an urban multi-campus community college. The study sought (1) to identify the number and demographic characteristics of students served by developmental studies, (2) to determine the academic achievement and persistence of these students, and (3) to assess the performance of developmental English students in regular college English.

Data were obtained for a two year period on all new students who enrolled in the fall of 1980. The study employed two approaches: (1) a descriptive analysis of the variables of age, sex, race, enrollment status and day/night attendance; (2) a static group comparison to detect differences in performance in college English, in cumulative grade point average, in credits completed and in the number of quarters attended between developmental and other students.

The descriptive analysis revealed that (1) slightly more than one-fourth of new students enrolled in a developmental course; (2) developmental students were likely to be younger, male, and to attend full-time during the day; and (3) the large majority of developmental students was white, although non-whites were overrepresented.

Full-time developmental students were found to complege as many quarters of enrollment as other full-time students and part-time developmental students completed a significantly higher number of quarters than did part-time nondevelopmental students.

Developmental students' mean GPA was significantly lower than the GPA of others. When examined by increasing intervals of credits earned, however, developmental students' GPA increased in linear fashion and eventually surpassed that of nondevelopmental students. For students enrolled in more than one developmental course this pattern was not obtained. An inverse relationship was found between the number of developmental courses and grade point average.

Students who completed a developmental English course performed less well in college English than other students, yet a substantial majority (68 percent) was able to pass the course with at least a grade of C.

Overall, the findings of this study indicate that developmental students remain in school as long as, and eventually perform as well as, other students.