Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Karen D. Bowser

Committee Member

Ashley Russom


academic support, high-risk courses, persistence, student achievement, student success, supplemental instruction


Student academic success and retention are primary concerns for colleges and universities. This researcher used a mixed method study to explore the impact of Supplemental Instruction (SI) on student success and persistence in two introductory, college-level algebra courses, Math 1030 Intermediate Algebra, and, Math 1040 Algebra for College Students, at a minority-serving, private not-for-profit university in Southeastern Florida. In response to greater accountability to increase students’ achievement and retention, SI, in conjunction with other academic support programs, was developed to assist students to progress successfully through high-risk courses, for example, mathematics. Developed by Deanna Martin at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, SI is an academic support tool that incorporates collaborative learning study sessions to improve student academic success and persistence. This study allowed the researcher to understand if students are more successful academically because of participating in SI sessions. More specifically, the researcher’s goals were to find out if student achievement and long-term retention is gained when students participate in SI, and, if additional benefits outside of course grades and retention are achieved because of SI participation. Using a convenience sample, the researcher sought to answer five research questions: (a) To what extent are students who participated in SI Mathematics more successful than students who did not participate in SI Mathematics, as measured by final course grades? (b) What is the persistence of students who participated in two or more SI sessions as measured by fall-to-fall semester retention? (c) Does the level of persistence differ by gender? (d) What additional benefits occur with SI student participation outside of course grades and retention as measured by focus groups? (e) To what extent does the quantitative and qualitative data converge? This study required the use of archival data of students who participated in SI Math 1030 Intermediate Algebra and SI Math 1040 Algebra for College Students in the 2015-2016 academic year. In addition, the researcher conducted a focus group and two one-on-one interviews to investigate if additional benefits were gained when students participate in SI Math. Analysis of the quantitative data revealed that student academic success is achieved, based on final course grades, and fall-to-fall retention is statistically significant when students participate in two or more SI sessions. However, a Mann-Whitney U test showed that persistence level did not differ by gender. Results from the qualitative data indicated that additional benefits such as increased student engagement and integration, enhanced learning, and communication is gained by attending SI.

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