Term of Award

Summer 2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 1

Bryan W. Griffin

Committee Member 2

James E. Green

Abstract

In Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) formally trains over 100,000 adult literacy students each year free of charge at a variety of campus-based and community-based programs located at community centers, churches, libraries, or businesses. A common, yet unproven, assumption among senior administrators and adult literacy faculty members at TCSG colleges is that adults who attend literacy classes embedded in the traditional college campus environment have better academic outcomes than those who attend only community-based programs. However, a gap currently exists in the literature with respect to a clear understanding of which student outcome variables are impacted when adult education classes are embedded on traditional college campuses. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine academic outcomes in reading and math, while controlling for potential covariates, between adult literacy students taking campus-based versus community-based classes.

This retrospective observational study found that site type does not have a significant effect on the change in TABE scaled scores in reading or math, even after controlling for covariates. However, site type does have an influence on math scores when considering its interaction with teacher status (full-time vs. part-time). When using site type/teacher status (campus full time, campus part-time, and community part-time) as a factor that defined group comparisons, an ANOVA analysis showed that the change in math score between pretest and posttest was significantly lower with students taking classes from campus part-time teachers versus classes from campus full-time teachers. No significant difference was found in the change in math score between classes with campus full-time teachers and classes with community part-time teachers. Furthermore, years teaching at the College had a positive effect and length of time had a negative effect on the change in math score.

Teachers should be aware that adult education students who have a lower math pretest score may be at risk for less improvement in reading and that delayed math testing may have a negative impact on math improvement. These students should be monitored more closely and encouraged often between testing periods. Additionally, teachers with the least number of years teaching should be mentored by those with more experience with respect to math education. More specifically, leadership needs to determine if the College is optimizing support resources. Research data from the study provide insight to adult literacy education that may improve overall student outcomes to include academic level completion, or may allow for better allocation of vital financial resources by college administrators.

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