Is Corequisite Developmental Math Effective University?


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Is Corequisite Developmental Math Effective at East Tennessee State University? is a well-researched Physical Sciences and Mathematics Thesis/Dissertation topic, it is to be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research.


This thesis looks at the corequisite developmental math program at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and compares the effectiveness to the previous developmental math program at ETSU by comparing the student outcomes in MATH 1530.

MATH 1530 is a non-calculus based statistic and probability course that satisfies most majors’ general education math requirements. ETSU sees approximately 1,000 students a year pass through MATH 1530 which is around 6.7% of the total enrollment at ETSU[9]. We are interested in the last five years of the developmental math program before it was changed to corequisite developmental math and the first five years of corequisite developmental math program.

Our research compares the grades of the students in these courses to evaluate if one program is more successful in students’ grade outcomes. Our findings show no change in class medians but a change in the class means in favor of the corequisite developmental math program.


The Higher Education Act of 1965, which enacted many of the federal student aid programs we still have today, made college readily accessible to students that did not have the prior financial means to attend college[12]. With this influx of students also came new hurdles for universities and community colleges.

One such hurdle that colleges faced was the number of incoming students that were not prepared for the rigor of college-level courses. To combat this, universities and community colleges throughout the nation have adopted some form of developmental or remedial program for students with a goal to prepare them to be successful in college-level coursework.

On a national level during the 2105-16 school year, 43.9% of students at public universities and community colleges reported that they took at least one developmental course after high school and when looking at only public universities, excluding community colleges, the percentage that took at least one developmental course after high school was 30.9%[15].

The demographics of developmental studies programs are diverse. Students come from various socio-economic backgrounds and span a large age range. This is not an underrepresented group issue; it spans across the United States and varies from region to region[2].

The Tennessee State Board of Regents (TBR) institutions report that about 60% of incoming students were deemed not likely to be successful in college-level courses with the math, reading, and/or writing skills they currently held when starting college at a TBR institution[17].

East Tennessee State University, which is classified as a doctoral university, high
research center[5], offers bachelor degrees through Ph.D. degrees and has twelve colleges and schools working within it[9]. ETSU is a public university with its main campus located in Johnson City Tennessee. As of May 2017, ETSU is governed by an institutional board of trustees. Prior to that ETSU was a TBR institution.

The fall 2018 total enrollment at the University was 14,574 people, which is a slight decrease from the previous spring semester which was 14,608[9]. ETSU has been offering some form of developmental math since 1985 and this thesis will compare the outcomes from the last five years of developmental support math courses to the most current five years of corequisite developmental support math classes at ETSU,

specifically looking at the outcomes of developmental math students in Math1530 which is required for most majors at East Tennessee State University. In 1984, Tennessee State Board of Regents (TBR) implemented a developmental and remedial studies program to satisfy the Comprehensive Education Reform Act of 1984 passed by Tennessee state legislators and to further satisfy legal disputes concerning discrimination against African American students in Tennessee and other at-risk students, specifically requiring promoting retention of students in developmental programs, as well as, a comprehensive review and implementation of developmental studies programs within one year at public institutions [1].

During 1984, The wrote the White Paper on Remedial and Developmental Studies, commonly called the White Paper. This paper outlined an approach to designing developmental studies programs for TBR institutes, which included, clear and measurable objectives, curriculum, policies, mandatory assessments and placements of students, program evaluation, and staff training[1].

The White Paper also defined the terms remedial and developmental, where remedial is defined as the basic skills needed to graduate from high school and developmental as the needed skills to be successful in college[1].

TBR institutions were to follow guidelines for assessing incoming students. Part of those guidelines stated that schools were to use more than one way to assess incoming students’ math abilities. As part of the admissions process, TBR required all students to apply to a TBR college to provide ACT or SAT scores if they were under 21 years old.

If the student’s composite ACT score was 15 or lower the student would take a placement exam. This was also the case for students older than 21 since ACT/Sat scores past five years were not considered. The Academic Assessment and Placement Program(AAPP), which was used for initial screening of incoming students whose ACT/SAT scores were below 16, was a 3-part math assessment but students were only required to take two sections.

There are two other parts to the AAPP, one for writing and the other for reading comprehension but we are only concerned with the math sections. One section covered basic arithmetic skills with computations of whole numbers, fractions, and integers.

The second section tested over elementary algebra which covered computations of roots, powers, algebraic inequalities, and equations involving operations with expressions. The third section tested intermediate algebra skills which included solving equations and inequalities, the coordinate plane, and graphs. Prior education and grades would be considered, as well as, major and career goals to determine what course to enroll incoming students in[1].


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Physical Sciences and Mathematics

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