Publication Date

Spring 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Barbara Burch (Co-director), Pamela Petty (Co-Director), Tony Norman, and Jie Zhang

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


This study examined the impact of a credit-bearing intervention literacy course taught at a southeastern United States four-year public university on student retention rates and cumulative grade point average. Undergraduate students (N=1,038) entering the university from fall 2010 to spring 2013 classified as not college ready were assigned to the course as an alternative to a more traditional non-credit bearing developmental reading course.

Using binary logistic regression and hierarchical linear regression, two dependent outcome variables related to student success were measured to infer course effects: twoyear retention status, defined as enrolling at the institution two years successful course completion, and two-year cumulative GPA, defined as the total student GPA two years after successful course completion. Several demographic and academic background characteristics served as covariates during binary logistic regression and hierarchical linear regression analyses. Additionally, analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) compared the outcomes for students completing the intervention course versus students completing the developmental course.

Results confirmed findings of previous studies regarding the influence of participants’ demographic and academic backgrounds on both outcome variables. Furthermore, analyses accounting for these variables revealed students successfully completing the literacy course were more likely to be retained after two years and to have higher two-year cumulative GPAs than their counterparts completing the developmental reading course.


Higher Education