Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Paul D. Overton


Parkland College is a community college of approximately 8,000 students located in Champaign, Illinois. The faculty and administrative staff is concerned with student retention, particularly the retention of those students in the pre-college or underprepared category who take courses that are below the college level. This retention study identified characteristics of underprepared students, interventions that had been successful at model community colleges, and recommended program implications for the future.

The study provided base-line data regarding characteristics of the 1346 underprepared students at Parkland College who were taking remedial coursework in the fall of 1988. Data was also gathered for the 612 first-time developmental students with regard to full-time and part-time status, ethnicity, sex, age, program selection, high school rank, and ACT scores. This was compared with the data from the fall of 1989 to determine which students had returned to Parkland for another term and which students had dropped out. A Chi-square statistical analysis was performed at the University of Illinois using the Statistical Analysis System to discover which categories were significant at the .05 level.

A profile was then drawn of the pre-college student at Parkland College. This profile indicated that members of the underprepared group were younger, predominantly fulltime, and more likely to be male and Black than the student population as a whole. Parkland was attracting a higher percentage of first-time students in the pre-college program than in its regular program. The first-time developmental students who were in the lower high school quartile, male, Black, part-time, or who had low ACT scores were the ones more likely to drop out. These students should be Parkland's target population for curricular, advising, and budgetary intervention.