Date of Award

Summer 8-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Shirley A. Johnson

Second Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette

Third Advisor

Roger L. Briscoe

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative (phenomenological) study was to research student veterans’ common experiences with college placement testing and remediation to deduce their readiness for college-level coursework. A thorough analysis of the narratives of their experiences formed the basis for this study. Interviewees were with both male and female student veterans who had taken a placement test and one or more remedial courses at a community college in western Pennsylvania. The participants formally served in the United States Armed Services and planned to continue their education using G.I. Bill education benefits.

A review of the literature indicated that community colleges were a primary vehicle for the education of underrepresented populations such as veterans. Research questions were primarily derived from studies on challenges and potential barriers facing student veterans as adult learners (Morris, 2013 & Bannier, 2006).

The rationale and setting of the study were driven by theoretical frameworks: Anderson-Levitt’s (2003) World Culture Theory of Education, Glass’s (1989) Social Historical Research Theory and Arnold, Lu and Armstrong’s Ecology of College Readiness respectively. Supporting theories for this study that focused on the population of adult learners were as follows: Mezirow’s (1996, 2000) Transformative Learning Theory, Schlossberg’s (1995) Theory of Adult Transitions, and Padilla’s (2009) General Model of Student Success (GMSS). These frameworks contextualized the study of student veterans as adult learners who were adapting and reintegrating into civilian life, while attending college and experiencing the phenomena of placement testing and remediation.

A typical outcome of placement testing for student veterans was remediation. Because many service members and veterans have not engaged in formal academic pursuits immediately after high school, transitioning to college presented challenges. Diagnosing their readiness for enrolling in community colleges and taking remedial courses was vital to their academic success. Understanding placement testing and subsequent remediation for student veterans connected to improving their overall success rate for reaching their academic and employ ability goals. Therefore, this type of study greatly informs college readiness research and potential strategies for the development of educational policies, procedures and curricula particularly at community colleges and to a certain degree universities. This study joins the burgeoning body of doctoral reach from (Cross, 2018; Piland, 2018; Tillman, 2018; Everett, 2017; Garcia, 2017; Mitchell, 2017; Walburn, 2017; Shay, 2015; Mullins, 2013; Morris, 2013; and Van Dusen, 2011) on the study of service members and veterans transitioning to college as student veterans.

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