Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Steven LeMire


It has been agreed that postsecondary credentials are critical in contributing to the economic and global demand that the U.S. produces well-educated and credentialed citizens in or to ensure that the country remains economically competitive in the world. The problem is when admitted and after being assessed, older students and far too many graduating high school students are arriving underprepared for college-level work, and college readiness can often be the greatest obstacle to students’ success, in particular mathematics. With high dropout or stop-out rates in conjunction with low retention and graduation rates, American Indian student success is threatened.

Various explanations have been advanced to explain developmental students’ lack of progression, including inadequate test preparation, insufficiently predictive exams, poorly aligned curricula, and the sheer length of time and financial resources required to finish a long sequence of courses. Each explanation implies that the developmental system is broken and that one or more specific fixes will mend it.

For this study, quantitative research is used to conduct an examination of the progression of students enrolled at a tribal community college from initial placement in developmental math [remedial course] or to the first college-level math course. Results indicate that fewer than one-half of the students who are referred to remediation actually complete the entire sequence, and fewer earn an educational credential.