Remedial education and its relationship to academic performance and retention of students at Central Arizona College: a case study
Gonzales, Steven Ray
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This study examined the relationship between remedial education, academic performance, and student retention. Using an ex post facto research design and the fall 2002 cohort of first-time, degree-seeking students at Central Arizona College, this study used quantitative analysis to explore how need and success varied according to select student characteristics that included, but were not limited to, gender, ethnicity, and enrollment status. Additionally, this study compared levels of academic success and student retention rates for students with a remedial background to those of students who did not require remedial education. This study also identified which select student characteristics served as predictors of academic performance in remedial courses. Finally, this study examined whether grades earned by students in exit remedial courses were predictors of academic performance in subsequent college-level courses. This study had several major findings. First, Hispanics represented the largest percentage of minority students requiring remediation. However, Black students required remediation proportionately higher than any other ethnic group. Furthermore, African-American females who demonstrated financial need and attended part-time were most likely to require remediation. Second, female students outperformed their male counterparts in remedial courses. However, African-American and Native American females were most likely not to achieve academic success in remedial courses. Third, students in initial college-level courses without a remedial background experienced higher levels of success than students with a remedial background. Fourth, students with a remedial background were more likely to be retained each semester and persist to the end of the three-year period under study. Fifth, performance in remedial courses and number of visits to the learning assistance center emerged as greatest predictors of academic success in initial college-level courses. Finally, this study found that academic success in exit remedial courses was a predictor of success in initial college-level courses. This study was concluded with recommendations for further research and strategies that institutions could implement to improve remedial programs.