Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Chad Becker, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Melanie Boyle, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Nesa Sasser, Ed.D.


Over the course of several decades, a large body of research written with a focus on community colleges has accumulated based on the high need for remediation in mathematics, and has been associated with high attrition rates at that level. Reform efforts have been largely unsuccessful. This qualitative study was conducted so that the phenomenon of the requirement of remedial coursework in math could be examined. Each of the thirteen participants in the study took part in one open-ended interview in which they shared their experiences, including their backgrounds and beliefs about learning mathematics throughout their years of school prior to, and including their enrollment in remedial mathematics coursework at the community college level. A conceptual framework that blended adult learning theories, or andragogy, with current research about the effect of mindset on learning mathematics was utilized to interpret information gathered. Delimitations of the study were the exclusion of students who signed up for remedial math by choice without requirement and students in need of special education services. The data gathered from the participant narratives led to conclusions that common experiences existed among remedial math students including a negative mindset about mathematics, a distorted view of mathematics as a discipline, and negative perceptions about community college structures including advising, course structure, and course pathways. Conclusions gleaned from this study contributed to the body of research on this topic based on alignment with recommendations from researchers that the community college experience for remedial studies be changed to include explicit work on self-regulation and metacognitive strategies, as well as increased use of active learning strategies, and changes in policy regarding course placement and pathways.

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