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Community College Leadership Commons

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2017

Curriculum and Social Inquiry

Poststructuralism

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Discourses Of Developmental English Education: Reframing Policy Debates, Aaron R. Tolbert May 2017

Discourses Of Developmental English Education: Reframing Policy Debates, Aaron R. Tolbert

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

According to the National Educational Longitudinal Study, an estimated 28% of academically underprepared students who take developmental courses (preparatory, not credit-bearing) graduate within 8.5 years (Attewell, Lavin, Domina, & Levey, 2006), far below the national average graduation rate of near 60% of students for all postsecondary institutions (USDE, 2016). Given these statistics, some conclude that developmental education itself contributes to the low graduation rate of developmental students (Bailey, Jaggars, & Jenkins, 2015). Indeed, the causes of this attainment gap are the focus of vigorous debates by scholars from numerous disciplines, defining whether the problems exist within the organizational structure and climate of the institution, the developmental coursework, the students’ academic preparedness, or with other factors (Bailey et al., 2015; Goudas & Boylan, 2012; Grubb & Babriner, 2013). Similarly, the research methodologies most appropriate to analyze the problems are also debated (Bailey et al., 2015; Goudas & Boylan, 2012; Grubb & Babriner, 2013). In fact, since developmental education’s inception, scholars have disputed how to conduct basic skills education (Grubb & Babriner, 2013) and how best to support developmental students (Soliday, 2002). Despite the breadth of current inquiry, few scholars have used poststructural methodologies to explore the conceptual construction of “problems” related to developmental education, except within the field of basic writing (Horner & Lu, 1999).

Accordingly, the purpose of ...