Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Joanna Masingila


developmental education, non-cognitive factors, quantitative literacy, quantitative reasoning, remediation, student success


More than two-thirds of first-year community college students require remediation in reading and/or mathematics before they can take college-level courses. Among these underprepared students who take the recommended developmental mathematics courses to become college-ready, less than one-third successfully complete these courses, posing a barrier to their access to a college education. Developmental education has been criticized and has undergone various institutional reforms, but limited research has investigated the mathematical perspectives of community college students in developmental mathematics courses. The two research questions that I investigated were: what effects does taking a developmental mathematics course that incorporates learning and study strategies have on students’ strategic learning skills; and how do students in a developmental mathematics course incorporating learning and study strategies describe their learning experiences? The theoretical frameworks of social cognitive theory and the framework for student success (productive persistence) guided the design of my investigation. To conduct this investigation, I used a mixed methods design, gathering both quantitative and qualitative data from 65 participants enrolled in a developmental mathematics course using a reform-oriented curriculum at a community college. Participants took the 60-item Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) early in the course and again near the end of the course, completing written reflections on a brief survey after each LASSI. I examined quantitative data addressing the first research question, followed by a qualitative analysis of survey data that address the second research question. To gain further insights, I conducted interviews with 10 participants after each LASSI. The quantitative analysis of the change in LASSI scores over the course of the semester revealed increases in some learning and study strategies. This was supported with comments from students in both written surveys and interviews. I present evidence of how taking a developmental mathematics course using reform-oriented curriculum both lowered Anxiety and improved Information Processing among the n=65, as well as improved Concentration and bolstered Using Academic Resources among the 10 interviewees. The qualitative analysis of the written surveys and interview data revealed more insights about the students’ learning experiences in the classroom both related to, and extending beyond, the 10 learning and study strategies assessed by the LASSI scales. Supporting evidence from written surveys and interview data led to five additional emergent themes impacting the student experience: Doing College, Barriers, Teacher Impact, Groupwork, and Growth Mindset. These factors were largely non-cognitive in nature, revealing psychological factors that influenced student persistence and student success. A discussion of limitations, suggestions, and recommendations for future research is also included.


Open Access