A Retrospective-Longitudinal Examination of the Relationship between Apportionment of Seat Time in Community-College Algebra Courses and Student Academic Performance
Doctor of Education (EdD)
First Advisor's Name
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Glenda D. Musoba
Third Advisor's Name
Thomas G. Reio, Jr.
Fourth Advisor's Name
course scheduling, spacing effect, student success, survival analysis, longitudinal, college-level [and developmental] mathematics, course withdrawal, multilevel analysis, institutional research, data-driven decision making
Date of Defense
During the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase by postsecondary institutions in providing academic programs and course offerings in a multitude of formats and venues (Biemiller, 2009; Kucsera & Zimmaro, 2010; Lang, 2009; Mangan, 2008). Strategies pertaining to reapportionment of course-delivery seat time have been a major facet of these institutional initiatives; most notably, within many open-door 2-year colleges. Often, these enrollment-management decisions are driven by the desire to increase market-share, optimize the usage of finite facility capacity, and contain costs, especially during these economically turbulent times. So, while enrollments have surged to the point where nearly one in three 18-to-24 year-old U.S. undergraduates are community college students (Pew Research Center, 2009), graduation rates, on average, still remain distressingly low (Complete College America, 2011). Among the learning-theory constructs related to seat-time reapportionment efforts is the cognitive phenomenon commonly referred to as the spacing effect, the degree to which learning is enhanced by a series of shorter, separated sessions as opposed to fewer, more massed episodes.
This ex post facto study explored whether seat time in a postsecondary developmental-level algebra course is significantly related to: course success; course-enrollment persistence; and, longitudinally, the time to successfully complete a general-education-level mathematics course. Hierarchical logistic regression and discrete-time survival analysis were used to perform a multi-level, multivariable analysis of a student cohort (N = 3,284) enrolled at a large, multi-campus, urban community college. The subjects were retrospectively tracked over a 2-year longitudinal period. The study found that students in long seat-time classes tended to withdraw earlier and more often than did their peers in short seat-time classes (p < .05). Additionally, a model comprised of nine statistically significant covariates (all with p-values less than .01) was constructed. However, no longitudinal seat-time group differences were detected nor was there sufficient statistical evidence to conclude that seat time was predictive of developmental-level course success.
A principal aim of this study was to demonstrate—to educational leaders, researchers, and institutional-research/business-intelligence professionals—the advantages and computational practicability of survival analysis, an underused but more powerful way to investigate changes in students over time.
Roig-Watnik, Steven M., "A Retrospective-Longitudinal Examination of the Relationship between Apportionment of Seat Time in Community-College Algebra Courses and Student Academic Performance" (2012). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 826.
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