As the key stakeholders in a developmental education program, each design has a unique perspective as to which program components contribute to success, a phenomenological research design has been selected to explore the realities of the experience for each involved (Cresswell, 2013). Johnson & Christensen (2013) claimed that phenomenological research design encompasses striving at comprehending an aspect of the phenomenon by indulging in assessing the views and the experiences of the individuals who have in the past experienced the phenomenon. This design is relevant to the study because it allows for the usage of different concepts and theories in describing the research. Besides, it also provides a detailed description of the case that is helpful in gathering a holistic data for the study (Moustakas, 1994). This study encompassed a research survey that will be designed and used in assessing how developmental education program structure affects the persistence, and graduation rates of developmental education students in Texas learning institutions. This design is aimed at collecting the data by specific sampling from key stakeholder of the study.
In this research study, both the researcher completed and subject completed instruments were used. Examples of the researcher completed instrument that were used include the flow charts, observational forms, and performance checklists (Onwuegbuzie, 2010). On the other hand, the subject completed instruments that were used in this research are the interviewing and the questionnaires (Onwuegbuzie & Wisdom, 2012). Therefore, questionnaires were specifically designed for each of the subjects that took part in the study (administrators, faculty, and students) as a way of getting to know their involvement towards the success of the developmental education program in their respective institutions within Texas. After which, they were issued to the subjects in a top-performing centralized community college and a top performing decentralized community college developmental college. It is important to note that questionnaire and interview were the ideal instrument for this study because they provided an opportunity to collect a large volume of information within a short time (Onwuegbuzie & Denham, 2014). Moreover, questionnaires offered a flexible way of data collection in that the subjects were able to fill it at their convenient time (Moustakas, 1994). However, they were given two days to fill the questionnaires and the interviews lasted for 40 minutes. After which the collected data was analyzed.
The interview questions that administrators were asked contained the following aspects. The first aspect was the certifications of their programs, faculties, and courses about the appropriate professional associations. The second aspect was the availability of a well-defined statement of goals and objectives that clearly outlined the developmental education. The third aspect was the manner at which they coordinated the implementation process of the developmental education program in their institutions. The fourth aspect was the availability of the clear statement of the developmental education philosophy that they used in their institution. As part of the questionnaire, the administrators were asked to give their view regarding whether paired courses and learning communities can facilitate the students’ developmental efforts (Onwuegbuzie & Wisdom, 2012).
On the part of the faculties, their interview questions contained the following aspects of developmental education. The first aspect was the techniques that they normally use on a daily basis as a way of implementing developmental courses. The second one was the data type that they received from the administrators for the formative purposes. The third aspect was the exclusiveness of the resource allocations that are used for the implementation of the developmental education. The last aspect was the types of the active learning techniques that they use in making the developmental course more exciting for the students (Onwuegbuzie & Denham, 2014).
The interview questions for the students covered their general perception of the implementation of the developmental course in their institutions. They were then asked to answer questions concerning the mode of the evaluation and whether they were comfortable with it. Moreover, the students were given a section to provide general comments regarding their perception of areas that need improvement (Onwuegbuzie, 2010). Apart from answering questions, the administrators, and the faculties were provided with a section to provide their general comments together with the methods that can be employed to better the implementation process. The researcher also acted as an instrument by compiling flow charts, observational forms, and performance checklists from the information that were gotten from the issued questionnaires and the interview process (Moustakas, 1994).
The participants that participated in the study were selected within the designated institutions with the permission from the institutions. The institutions provide the names of the administrators and the lecturers from which the researcher selected the study participants by specific sampling method. However, as for the students, the researcher sampled them individually from their classes. Then the researcher organized a meeting with them one at a time with the aim of requesting them to take part in the study. At the time of the meeting, the participants introduced themselves then the researcher explained the study and the content of the questionnaires together with the interview questions. The number of the participants that were willing to take part in the study were 3 administrators, 5 faculties, and 12 students. Therefore, the researcher had 20 participants in total that were interviewed and issued with the questionnaires. The researcher then instructed them on how to fill the questionnaires by answering the multiple questions with a simple yes or no or giving a comment where necessary. From here, the researcher left the questionnaires with them to fill at their convenience but within two days. However, the subjects agreed unanimously that the interviews were to be performed after two days the same day the questionnaires were to be collected.
After 2 days, the researcher conducted the interviews, by starting with the three administrators. However, the researcher opted to conduct a group interviews for all the three categories of the participants as a way of managing time. The researcher employed the use of video recording as a way of recording data together with making short notes. The same was done for both the students and faculty. The data collected from the questionnaires and the interviews were compiled in the flow charts, observational forms, and performance checklists for interpretation and analysis
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