A Study of a Developmental Reading Class for Hispanic Males at a Texas University
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Though developmental education has long been part of American post-secondary education, reliable evidence of its benefits, especially for ethnic minorities in reading, is lacking (Swail, Cabrera, Lee, & Williams, 2005). Developmental education has costs, however, in added tuition, time-to-completion, and discouragement (Bailey, 2009). Since Hispanic males are among the least likely students to achieve a post-secondary credential and among the most likely to be placed in developmental reading, policy-makers, practitioners, and students themselves need to know whether developmental reading is beneficial or detrimental to their success (Adelman, 2004; Clery, 2008).
This study examined whether developmental reading instruction improved the chances for underprepared Hispanic males to succeed in a four-year college. The study focused on students whose scores on a college-preparedness test identified them as needing additional reading skills for college success. The population for the study was drawn from Hispanic male students attending a moderately-difficult, selective, 4-year public university in Texas during a ten-year period. Care was taken to compare groups of Hispanic males that exhibited comparable demographic and academic backgrounds as well as students who both passed and failed the developmental reading course.
The results indicate that the developmental reading course did not improve the success of Hispanic male students in college as measured by persistence and academic achievement except for the grade received in a reading-intensive gatekeeper course, which did show significant gains for students who took developmental reading.