2013 Spring Seminar

Lori L. Taylor, Associate Professor in the Bush School of Government and Public Service, and the Bush School Capstone Team presented the following April 22, 2013 as part of the ERC Seminar series:


"What influences student success in developmental education?
An analysis based on student experience in Texas"

Andrew Bobo, presenter for the Capstone Team, described the capstone research project, funded by Greater Texas Foundation in Bryan, TX, which was designed to explore several potential solutions for improving success rates of community college students enrolled in developmental education (DE) courses. The Capstone Team used fuzzy regression discontinuity analysis (RD) to compare the experiences and opinions of students required to take DE course(s) with those who were not required to take DE courses. A confidence index was used as a proxy for success in college courses. Five hypotheses for increasing likelihood of student success were explored: greater classroom engagement, higher quality advising, greater connection to school community, higher than average “grit” scores and influence of outside factors. Provisional results indicate that only outside financial factors and higher than average grit scores were significant and important predictors of DE students’ success. Contrary to conventional belief, classroom engagement had a statistically significant positive relationship with success for all non-DE students; but the relationship was not significant for DE students. Another interesting finding that emerged from focus groups was that miscommunication about the importance of the placement tests and the nature of DE is a substantial hurdle for DE students. Members of the Bush School Capstone Team are Andrew Bobo, Cherrelle Duncan, Cameron Goodman, Jennifer Harris, Thanasis Kombos, Torey McDaniel, Jena Overall, Sarina Rapini, Jye Shafer, Silvia Xing, Helen Zhang and Staci Zugaro.