Developing voices: A study of developmental education students and their perspectives of individual and institutional attributes necessary for academic success

Kathy K Stein, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

This study explores the perspectives of developmental education students about developmental education. Developmental education students are, perhaps, the largest stakeholders in developmental education, yet we have not made a habit of soliciting their opinions on the programs offered to them, the faculty who teach them, or the expectations of them. In a phenomenological study, using in-depth interviewing, seven first-semester, exit-level developmental education students shared their thoughts about developmental education. The participants were all Latinos/as attending a Latino majority four-year public institution located in a Latino majority city. The primary theoretical framework used to analyze their responses was Rendón's (1994) validation theory. ^ The study resulted in three particularly interesting insights. First, the participants exhibited an overwhelming sense of confidence in themselves as students, an unexpected finding in relation to validation theory. Second, they felt very strongly that developmental education belongs at postsecondary institutions. Third, when they spoke of their developmental education instructors, they assigned them many of the same characteristics that they associated with high school teachers. Many of these characteristics are also noted by Rendón as increasing validation for non-traditional, culturally diverse students, thus increasing their chances for succeeding in higher education. The participants assigned less positive characteristics to many of their college-level instructors. ^ This study suggests that all faculty members need to be introduced to validation theory and trained in validation techniques that support student learning. The study also supports the idea that greater collaboration should occur between secondary and post-secondary institutions to help students avoid developmental education placement altogether. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Stein, Kathy K, "Developing voices: A study of developmental education students and their perspectives of individual and institutional attributes necessary for academic success" (2006). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3214008.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3214008

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