Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Ernest Goeres.


Underprepared college students are a continuing challenge for higher education institutions. Many students arrive at institutions of higher education with weak academic skills and are unable to do college-level school work. As a result, developmental education programs are required to address these inadequacies in student preparation. The purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness of these developmental education programs. The goal is to determine the relationship between developmental education programs in West Virginia four-year higher education institutions and the success of the students in these programs as measured by degree completion and the terms to degree required to complete the degree program.;The population for this study was 17,168 recent high school graduates who were full-time, first-year students at the ten public four-year public institutions in West Virginia in the fall terms of 2002 and 2003. For the study the population (N = 17,168) was divided into two groups, those students who took developmental education (4,594 students) and those students who did not take developmental education (12,574 students). Variables predicted to influence the likelihood of graduation and the time to degree were included in the conceptual areas of student background, academic preparation, institutional factors, and financial aid received.;A quasi-experimental research technique, coarsened exact matching, was used to assess differences in outcomes for students who participated in developmental education while controlling for selection bias. The study found that student who took developmental education courses were less likely to graduate than similar student who did not take developmental education. Also, students that took developmental education courses took longer to graduate than similar student who did not have to take developmental education. These findings echo those of Attewell, Lavin, Domina, and Levey (2006), Martorell and McFarlin (2007), and Calcagno and Long (2008) in that students who take any developmental education courses, even if they passed those courses, were less likely to graduate within six years and would require more time in their pursuit of degree attainment.