The Relationship Between Developmental Writing Courses and African American Student Success in the Dallas County Commuity College District (2009-2014)

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Curriculum and Instruction

Date of Award

Spring 2015


For the period 2009-2014, the focus of the research was an investigation of how well the seven colleges of DCCCD performed in improving college-readiness and success for African American students through successful completion of developmental writing courses prior to enrollment in College English 1301. Further, data was gathered to determine whether developmental writing courses were positive or negative factors in helping African American students succeed. Tinto (2005) stated that most institutions do not take retention seriously and treat it peripherally, adding another course to deal with the issue, such as a freshman seminar or a mentoring program. The same may be said of the developmental writing course sequences, which attempted to address student deficiencies in a piecemeal fashion instead of taking a comprehensive look at the entire problem. The purpose of this research was to examine an aspect of the institutional effort: the relationship between developmental writing courses and African American student success. A primary question was whether developmental writing courses taught at the seven colleges of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) advanced and fostered African American students' success. There were several criteria for the research. There was an examination of the relationship between successful completion of developmental writing courses, retention rates the following semester, successful completion of College English 1301, graduation rates for a 5-year period, and the developmental writing (DWRI) course starting level of African American students who enrolled first-time, full-time in fall 2009 in traditional face-to-face developmental writing courses across the seven colleges of DCCCD. The research included ex post facto data from DCCCD's Office of Institutional Research that was analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software, version 21. The SPSS software was used to conduct descriptive and statistical analyses to look at the relationship between developmental writing courses and African American students' success across the seven colleges of DCCCD. The statistical testing incorporated a 0.05 level of significance. The results of the research indicated that developmental writing courses were not effective in supporting the academic success of the majority of African American students. The DWRI course sequence appeared to be a barrier and did not provide enough support for African American students.  


Joyce A. Scott

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Higher Education