WWC review of this study

Learning communities for students in developmental math: Impact studies at Queensborough and Houston Community Colleges.

Weissman, E., Butcher, K. F., Schneider, E., Teres, J., Collado, H., Greenberg, D., & Welbeck, R. (2011). New York: National Center for Postsecondary Research. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED516646

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,273
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: November 2014

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Access and enrollment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Registered for courses

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

End of program semester

College students;
1,034 students

N/A

N/A

No

 
 
4
More Outcomes

Registered for courses

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

End of program semester

College students;
1,273 students

N/A

N/A

No

 
 
2
Show Supplemental Findings

Registered for courses

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

End of program semester

Women;
849 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
7

Registered for courses

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

End of program semester

Women;
579 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Registered for courses

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

End of program semester

Male;
455 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Registered for courses

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

End of program semester

Male;
424 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Credit accumulation and persistence outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Regular credits earned

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

4 semesters post-assignment

College students;
1,034 students

12.40

11.80

No

 
 
2
More Outcomes

Regular credits earned

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

4 semesters post-assignment

College students;
1,273 students

4.70

4.70

No

 
 
0
Show Supplemental Findings

Regular credits earned

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

4 semesters post-assignment

Female;
579 students

13.20

11.80

No

--

Regular credits earned

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

4 semesters post-assignment

Female;
849 students

5.20

5.00

No

--

Regular credits earned

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

4 semesters post-assignment

Male;
455 students

11.40

11.70

No

--

Regular credits earned

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

4 semesters post-assignment

Male;
424 students

3.50

4.30

No

--
Progress in developmental education outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Passed both required developmental math courses

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

4 semesters post-assignment

College students;
1,273 students

N/A

N/A

No

 
 
2
More Outcomes

Passed college math

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

Cumulative

College students;
989 students

N/A

N/A

No

 
 
0
Show Supplemental Findings

Passed both required developmental math courses

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

4 semesters post-assignment

Female;
849 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Passed college math

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

Cumulative

Female;
561 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Passed both required developmental math courses

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

4 semesters post-assignment

Male;
424 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Passed college math

Linked Learning Communities vs. business as usual

Cumulative

Male;
428 students

N/A

N/A

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 62%
    Male: 38%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    New York, Texas
  • Race
    Asian
    5%
    Black
    33%
    White
    8%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    45%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    55%

Setting

The study took place at Houston Community College, a large community college system consisting of over 55,000 students attending six colleges located in and around Houston, TX. The learning communities project was conducted at three of the campuses around the city: Central, Northline, and Southeast.

Study sample

To be eligible for participation in the learning communities study, students had to meet all of the following criteria: 1) first-year student status; 2) placed into developmental math, including students in the lowest levels of developmental math (primarily Fundamentals of Mathematics I or Fundamentals of Mathematics II); and 3) available to take the learning community classes at their scheduled times. All students were placed at one of two developmental math levels based on a placement test (COMPASS). The study initially enrolled students who were 18 or older, but later enrolled students under 18. Across four semesters, 1,273 students were eligible to participate; 761 were randomly assigned the intervention group and 512 to the comparison group. Demographically, 67% of the entire sample of study participants were female, 55% were Hispanic, 35% were Black, and 3% were White. Sixty-three percent of the students in the sample were between 17 and 20 years old at the beginning of the study. In addition, 28% reported having at least one child, 29% were financially dependent on their parents, 41% were currently employed, and 46% spoke a language other than English in their home.

Intervention Group

The learning communities at Houston Community College were designed for students at the lowest level of developmental math offered by the college: Fundamentals of Mathematics I (Math I). After passing Math I, students must pass both Fundamentals of Mathematics II and Intermediate Algebra before they can take a college-level course. Math I was linked with a student success course called College and Career Planning for the learning communities program. The student success course was designed to introduce students to tools and strategies that would help them achieve their college and career goals; included lessons on time management, test-taking skills, and setting goals; and provided information on available campus resources such as tutoring. Math I is required for all students who place into it, but students are not required to take it during their first semester of enrollment. However, college policy does require all students to take the College and Career Planning course during their first semester. The key part of the learning community was the link between Math I and the student success course, and the linked courses included at least three integrated assignments. In addition, collaboration among faculty and connections to support services were reported by the study authors as salient aspects of the program.

Comparison Group

Comparison group students were advised that they were required to take developmental math courses as a prerequisite to college-level math, but they were not required to do so during the first semester. College staff assisted students in both conditions with registration for all of their courses. All first-year developmental students at the college were required to take the College and Career Planning course.

Outcome descriptions

The study authors gathered outcome data from transcripts provided by the college. The data were available at the end of the program semester and for one semester after the program. In addition, cumulative results at two semesters post-assignment were available. Participation in the learning communities began in spring 2008, fall 2008, spring 2009, and fall 2009. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

The study authors reported that each campus had a faculty member coordinator who received course release time for their work on integrated curriculum planning. Faculty stipends varied from $200 to $400 per community taught. Campuses also varied in stipends for faculty planning for new joint courses (e.g., $200) and one-course release time for planning the learning community the semester before. Additional supports to students included: math tutoring, dedicated counseling, and development of online videos and PowerPoints into lessons accessed by students with purchased iPad touch devices. Field trips were supported by the campuses and incorporated into each class (one field trip per term).

 

Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

loading
back to top