• Social and Academic Integration as Predictors of Community College Students' Semester Persistence in Developmental Courses

      Morris-Compton, Darnell Joseph; Harrington, Donna (2013)
      More than half of students in community colleges need remedial education. Colleges spend over a $1 billion each year to provide instruction to students who are academically behind or struggling to demonstrate necessary academic skills, yet only a quarter of students are completing these developmental courses. The reasons why so many students do not pass are not well understood. Research has explored student consecutive semester re-enrollment, also known as persistence, through academic and social integration. Academic and social integration mean competent membership and participation in a college (Barnett, 2006; Tinto, 1993). Few researchers have examined the relationship between academic and social integration and developmental education (Taylor, 2009). This study selected one community college based on high developmental education course enrollment rates and low passing rates. By chance, the selected institution piloted two programs aimed at improving persistence among developmental education students during the time this study took place. During the Fall Semester of 2012, 239 students in 24 randomly selected developmental education classes were surveyed using a valid instrument to measure academic and social integration (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1980). The study used a cross-sectional research design with an administrative follow up in the Spring Semester of 2013. Logistic regression analyses examined whether academic and social integration predicted students' intention to re-enroll and persistence among students taking developmental education courses. Overall, academic and social integration did not predict persistence; however, institutional and goal commitment and participating in the Skill Building Program were found to predict intent to re-enroll. These findings suggest that the relationship between academic and social integration among community college students taking developmental education courses is complex. Findings related to intent to re-enroll suggest that practitioners can assess students' commitment level and intention to leave well before the end of the semester in order to understand the nature of non-persisting students' intent to leave, and provide early assistance for students who experience academic or extra-curricular difficulties.