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A study of faculty perceptions of under -prepared students in selected Iowa community colleges

Juline S Albert, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Historically, the state of Iowa has mandated community colleges to provide developmental education coursework to prepare students for college-level courses. Clearly, the need to provide developmental coursework for under-prepared students existed. In 1994, national estimates projected that as many as 78 percent of all community college participants were under-prepared for college-level work (Grubb and Kalman, 1994). ^ Although the community college mission has always been to provide developmental education coursework, faculty members, according to Anita Colby (1987), “do not know how to teach literacy,” often have no training in reading and writing instruction, and as a result are “reluctant to shoulder the responsibility for basic skills development” (p. 2). If these claims are true, faculty members, level of knowledge and their attitude toward developmental education may have an impact on the success of the under-prepared learner. ^ The purpose of this research was: (1) to study faculty perceptions of under-prepared students in Iowa community colleges; (2) to study those perceptions in relation to certain faculty characteristics; (3) to study those perceptions in relation to the developmental education program structure present at the various institutions represented in this study; and finally, (4) to make recommendations based on the outcomes of the research. ^ The research methodology of this study consisted of a quantitative design (faculty survey) and a qualitative design (faculty interviews). The outcome of the research revealed a dichotomy in faculty members' perceptions of under-prepared students. While faculty members believed there were too many under-prepared students in the Iowa community college system, they still believed in the open-door policy and mission of the community college. Faculty members' gender, developmental education teaching experience, and developmental education training all impacted their perceptions of under-prepared students in Iowa's community colleges. Other faculty characteristics did not impact perceptions of under-prepared students, nor did the developmental education program structure of their institution. Key recommendations include providing faculty training in developmental education and conducting further study in those areas where statistical significance was found. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College

Recommended Citation

Albert, Juline S, "A study of faculty perceptions of under -prepared students in selected Iowa community colleges" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3142071.