Examining course modalities and student success: A quantitative analysis of course completion and retention for developmental education students who progressed into college-level mathematics and English



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This quantitative study investigated how course modality (synchronous face-to-face, asynchronous online) relates to the course completion and retention rates of students who transitioned from developmental education programming into college-level general education courses. The study sampled full-time, first-time entering students at an Arkansas public, four-year institution who were placed into developmental education programming, based on institutional placement policy. There is a gap in existing research on the relationship between course modality and students’ course completion and retention outcomes for this specific student population. Using correlational analyses, this study focused on course completion and retention data to gain insight into how asynchronous online education relates to developmental education students’ outcomes after their transition to college-level programming. Additional sociodemographic student factors (gender, household income) were also examined. Race/ethnicity, though initially considered, was excluded from analyses due to data privacy concerns that arose from limited sample sizes within various categories. Study results indicate predominant enrollment in the synchronous face-to-face modality in general education mathematics and English courses at the study institution. Statistically significant findings revealed higher course completion rates in synchronous face-to-face college-level general education English courses than in the asynchronous online modality. Conclusions drawn from this study underscore the need for future research with larger sample sizes. This research informs higher education practice by guiding future research toward a thorough exploration of the complex factors influencing developmental education students’ success, particularly in the context of online learning.



developmental education students, online learners, online learning, course modality