Bridging the Gap: A Design-based Case Study of a Mathematics Skills Intervention Program

Many students aspire to continue their educational journey, but far too many enter college without the basic content knowledge, skills, or habits of mind needed to succeed. Research on college readiness indicates the significant role mathematics achievement plays in attaining a college degree and advancing professionally. This dissertation study provides a broad examination of college readiness in mathematics among entering college students. Specifically, in an effort to improve access to college-level mathematics courses for underrepresented students, it examines the meaning and significance of an existing program to help students transition to college. The Mathematics Success program at Oceanview Community College provides enrichment instruction in mathematics for the purpose of improving placement test scores and enabling students to take a shorter path to transfer-level mathematics courses. This qualitative study utilized design-based case study methodology to investigate whether the Mathematics Success program was effective in helping students improve their mathematics placement scores and, if so, why this might occur. The researcher found that classroom tutors, tutoring services, supplemental practices, and the Math Anxiety workshop were the most valuable aspects of the program to help students succeed in the mathematics placement test. The quantitative results of this study showed that there is no relation between the time since the last mathematics class and students’ scores on the post-test. Also, there was a strong positive relationship between the post-assessment scores and pre-assessment results. Implications for social justice and leadership in higher education institutions are also discussed.