Achieving the dream: success of hispanic students in developmental math courses in a Texas community college.
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This investigation tracked Fall 2005 semester, first-time-to Northwest Vista College (NVC) student cohorts in order to more fully understand the success rates of students taking developmental coursework. This research specifically looked at the completion of developmental math courses by Hispanic students to see how well they succeeded in their first developmental math courses. The problem of this study was to determine whether or not there was a significant difference in success rates between Hispanic students enrolled in developmental math courses at NVC during the implementation of the Achieving the Dream initiative. Three research questions were addressed related to: (1) a comparison of Hispanic male versus female success; (2) financial aid and success; and (3) the value of 17 background and personal variables in predicting success, as measured by student GPAs. A total of 1,905 students from each of the four developmental math courses were asked to participate in the study. Out of 1,905 surveys sent out for completion, 780 (40.9%) students responded, including 405 (21.3%) Hispanic students. The final sample for the study included the following Hispanic students: (1) 27 in Math 0300; (2) 112 in Math 0301; (3) 128 in Math 0302; and (4) 138 in Math 0303. To answer the first and second research questions, a proportion test was used to determine the success rates (a grade of C or better). In all four developmental math courses, the data analyses demonstrated that there were no significant differences between Hispanic male and female student success or in terms of the effect of financial aid on student success. Logistic regression was the primary statistical technique used to answer research question three. Seventeen independent variables were considered in this model. The following variables were found to be significant variables in attributing to the success of Hispanic students in their respective developmental math courses: student age (Math 0301); social stimulation, peer group interaction, and faculty interaction (Math 0302); and family togetherness in (Math 0303). This study was conducted in the hope that information could be provided as to what variables led to student success, especially in the Hispanic community. This research adds to the literature that is understudied—the motivation of Hispanic students to succeed in college.