Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Using social modeling to inform community college student behavior: A case study examining embedded interventions in a basic skills math class
by Esposito-Noy, Celia, Ed.D., Mills College, 2013, 209; 3568250
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of students enrolled in a basic skills math class at a California community college and the role of the peer model in informing their college-going behaviors. There is significant interest in increasing the number of students who complete basic skills courses and make progress towards a degree and transfer to a four-year college. While poor performance by students enrolled in basic skills classes is generally associated with a lack of academic preparation, research indicates that students may lack the cultural capital or college know-how necessary to be successful. This case study considers the role a peer model can play in informing students of college-going behaviors when interventions are embedded in the classroom.

The site of this case study was an Arithmetic class taught in the fall 2012 semester at a mid-size, diverse community college in northern California. The class included embedded interventions provided by a peer model who demonstrated college-going behaviors. Semi-structured interviews with six students, the peer model, and the instructor, as well as observations of the classroom and supplemental instruction, provided rich data for the findings and implications of this study. The central research question was, “How do embedded interventions offered in a basic skills math class inform college student behavior?”

Purposeful sampling was used to identify the participants for this qualitative study conducted in the tradition of a bounded case study. Initially, two primary themes were identified and used to guide my data analysis: 1) the significance of feeling cared for, and 2) acquiring college know-how. Later in the process of data collection and analysis, I identified the significance of setting and maintaining expectations and the emergent theme of faith.

The findings from my study have implications for both practitioners and researchers. For practitioners, this study provides a framework for teaching students college know-how in order to advance student success, specifically students enrolled in basic skills courses. The findings from this study also indicate the significance of students feeling cared for and how this contributes to course completion and success. For researchers, data from student interviews indicate that we can learn from students about the factors they believe inform their course success. Including student voices in future research about student success will help the field understand the interventions or treatments that students find most significant.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Christopher, Susan
Commitee: Donahue, David, Schultz, Kathy, Stroud, Regina
School: Mills College
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Mathematics education, Educational leadership, Adult education
Keywords: Basic skills, Community college, Interventions, Mathematics, Social modeling
Publication Number: 3568250
ISBN: 978-1-303-22531-4
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