Texas success initiative developmental education: A program evaluation using mixed-methods action research at a large university



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The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the effectiveness of developmental education reforms in a university setting. Since 2010, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas legislature have begun to demand more of developmental education programs. More requirements have been placed upon institutions of higher education to improve the rate at which students are declared “College Ready” and higher expectations for student performance beyond developmental education are demanded. Through a mixed methods action research program evaluation methodology, one program’s usage of developmental education best practices and legislative mandates is explored. Developmental education students’ perspectives, developmental reading and developmental writing completion rates, and longitudinal data provide a triangulated view of one Texas developmental reading and developmental writing program at a large university. Whereas universities are rarely included in reviews of developmental education, this program evaluation provides a holistic picture of the investment stakeholders made into one university’s developmental reading and developmental writing program. Survey and longitudinal data were provided to the participating researcher voluntarily by developmental education students. Overall completion data was collected using archival data. By using a combination of data including voluntary, student perspectives, this program evaluation gives a contextualized view of the impact of legislated mandates and best practices on university developmental education students at a large university from fall 2010 through fall 2013. Data was used to answer the overarching research questions. Little to no data was previously available regarding developmental education student success in the areas of reading and writing, especially at a university. The findings of this program evaluation indicate some practices are effective, while other program implementations require more research to verify validity in practice.



Developmental Education, Program Evaluation, Action Research