The impact of technology on community college students' success in remedial/developmental mathematics
Increased institutional accountability and fiscal constraints coupled with most community college students being required to take at least one remedial/developmental course indicates a need to find the best way to deliver these classes. Institutions are expanding alternate delivery formats to meet student expectations. Is using technology best for students in remedial/developmental courses?
This study investigated effectiveness of technology-assisted instruction for remedial/developmental math in Florida community colleges. Technology has emerged as potentially enhancing student success; however, it is expensive. If research shows that students benefit from technology in remedial/developmental courses, then funds spent to provide instruction through technology are validated. However, if research does not show remedial/developmental courses with a technology component are more effective than courses delivered traditionally, then spending funds for technology in those courses becomes questionable.
The research questions for this study asked whether the delivery format of gatekeeper remedial/developmental math courses varied by institutional size. Was there a relationship between student success and technology-assisted delivery of “gatekeeper” remedial/developmental math classes? The study asked if such a relationship existed when controlling for placement test scores. To answer these questions, the research compared student success rates in three delivery formats—traditional, hybrid, and computer-based.
Results showed that small institutions favored traditional delivery of remedial/developmental math. Medium institutions offered traditional and hybrid delivery in similar proportions while larger institutions favored hybrid delivery. Results also showed that students in traditional delivery sections were likely to be just as successful, or slightly more successful, than students in hybrid and computer-based delivery courses, Students with higher placement test scores in remedial/developmental math were clearly more successful in courses delivered via traditional instruction.
Implications from this study suggest that the introduction of a technology component to remedial/developmental math courses does not seem to be more effective in helping students successfully pass remedial/developmental math classes. If an institution does not have funds to invest in technology for remedial/developmental math students, which may be especially true for smaller institutions, no harm is done in delivering instruction in remedial/developmental math via traditional methods. Students may actually benefit from the traditional delivery format in remedial/developmental math courses.
0275: Community colleges
0710: Educational software
0280: Mathematics education