Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Higher Education

Committee Chair

James Penrod

Committee Member

Katrina Meyer

Committee Member

Barbara Mullins-Nelson

Committee Member

Patricia Murrell


Education is a major focal point of individual justice within a free society as well as a central point of human capital for the world. This study compared the cognitive and personal developmental levels of community college students enrolled in developmental-level mathematics courses to students enrolled in college-level mathematics courses. In addition, the effects of age, as well as a variety of demographic differences such as parents’ education, financial aid, and gender on the development of community college students were investigated. The levels of development were based on the following scales: competency, autonomy, identity, and intellectual development. The sources of these scales were Arthur Chickering’s theory on college students’ development and William Perry’s theory of cognitive development. In establishing this causal-comparative design, the independent variables were mathematics level (developmental-level mathematics students versus college-level mathematics students), with a further distinction between age groups (traditional-aged versus adult students). Comparisons among means on the instruments and the various subscales were tested using independent sample t-tests and a series of analysis of variance tests. With this design and combination of variables, three basic null hypotheses were tested: a) There were no significant differences between mean scores on the four inventories of developmental mathematics students versus college-level mathematics students; b) There were no significant differences between mean scores on the four inventories of traditional-aged versus adult community college students; and c) There were no significant differences between additional independent variables tested such as gender, marital status, family background, and method of financing education. Significant differences were found on the following scales and subscales: mobility based on age; identity based on mathematics level; mobility, identity, and intellectual development based on gender; interdependence based on marital status; and competency in mathematics based on employment patterns. The results of this study can be used to recommend appropriate changes in classrooms, instruction, and student services


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.