Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version

April 2007


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education)
Under the Supervision of Professor Alan T. Seagren
Lincoln, Nebraska: April 17, 2007.
Copyright 2007 Tricia L. Paramore.



Tricia L. Paramore, Ph.D. University of Nebraska, 2007 Adviser: Alan T. Seagren

Phipps (1998) emphasized interinstitutional collaboration among colleges to share and replicate best practices and ideas as a strategy to improve the effectiveness of developmental/remedial education, but Johnson (2001) noted a lack of communication between science educators and developmental educators. The purposes of this mixed methods study were (a) to identify and examine the characteristics of developmental/remedial sciences as it existed in the 2006-2007 academic year in terms of organization, structure, instructional practices, and curriculum as offered at community colleges in five states in the central part of the United States; and (b) to develop a set of guidelines for community college faculty and administrators to use in making decisions about whether or not to offer developmental/remedial sciences and identify the general steps to follow in implementation.

The study was conducted in four phases which involved two surveys, subsequent interviews with leaders at three institutions selected for case study, and guideline development.

Developmental/remedial sciences were offered at few institutions. At those institutions where they were offered, however, nearly half offered courses and multiple support services, but did not define their offerings as a program. Some developmental education best practices were adopted (such as integrating study skills with science content in courses and using a variety of instructional strategies), but many, including goals and assessment, were omitted. Interviewees indicated the need for developmental/remedial sciences would continue in the future. Guidelines to use in determining whether to offer developmental/remedial sciences included the following: 1. adopt an attitude of quality improvement; 2. look to faculty as a #1 resource; 3. assess what is currently offered in the sciences and ask if it works; 4. know what you are remediating; 5. start a conversation between the academic department and support services staff to create a truly integrated program; 6. consider placement and advising; 7. consider assessment; 8. consider training and experience of faculty; 9. plan for the appropriate physical space and staff; and 10. do your homework.