Academic journal article Education

A Developmental Education Survey: Results of a National Survey of Program Design and Mathematics Instruction

Academic journal article Education

A Developmental Education Survey: Results of a National Survey of Program Design and Mathematics Instruction

Article excerpt


Preparatory programs in American colleges and universities have existed to help students make up academic or study skill deficiencies as early as the beginning of higher education in America. Students entering preparatory programs often do not possess the skills that should have been learned by the end of high school. This lack of achievement may be measured by the college through the use of a combination of SAT scores, ACT scores, and/or high school grade point averages.

College students enter developmental education programs because of deficiencies in academic skills, particularly in the areas of mathematics, language arts, and study skills. Since the mathematics skills that these students are missing are high school skills, (or in some cases, they may be junior high school skills), the curriculum and pedagogy for junior/senior high school as outlined in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) publications Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics and Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics may be helpful to these students. It is noteworthy to mention that the Assessment Standards for School Mathematics (1995) was in press at the time this data was collected.

These Standards documents offer a vision of what curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment might be for K-12 classrooms. Because the mathematics content of the preparatory program math course(s) is often at the junior or senior high school level, the junior/senior high school curricula, methodologies, and assessment techniques proposed by the Standards documents could be appropriate for the preparatory program math classroom.

This survey collected descriptive data about the developmental education programs of the sample. The researcher identified 462 programs in existence in American four-year colleges and universities. The survey also collected data from a sub-sample in order to determine if and how the vision of the Standards documents are being incorporated into the mathematics components of preparatory programs in four-year colleges and universities.

The Sample

The sample listing was compiled from many sources. The first source was college catalogs which were part of the MicroLogue collection at the Paley Library at Temple University in Philadelphia. The sample was expanded further by using the names of programs described in Needle's The Other Route into College: Alternative Admission. The ERIC Educational Document (ED 272 104) Opportunities at Independent Colleges and Universities in New York State through the Higher Education Opportunity Program also added names to the sample. Names of other programs and institutions were added to the sample from a list of programs obtained from the National Center for Developmental Education located in the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

The National Association for Developmental Education (NADE) Annual Conference was held in Chicago, Illinois from February 22 - 26, 1995. A Conference Registrant Information Guide was made available to all Conference participants. From this Guide more names of institutions, programs and their directors were added to the sample. One of the directors in this group also provided a list of 11 other programs and their directors to be added to the sample. The results of the information from all these sources yielded a sample of 462 programs.


Approximately 73% of the 462 surveys that were mailed were completed and returned. The first questions were descriptive questions about the programs themselves. The question about the complete title of the program was compiled by looking for key words in the complete title of the program. The frequency of these key words was compared to the total number of titles available. The key words that appeared most frequently were: Support - 55 (17%); Opportunity - 46 (15%); and Developmental - 45 (14%). …

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