Non-academic Support Math Faculty Members Provide in Developmental Accelerated and Corequisite Support Courses in California Community Colleges
To guide practitioners of rapidly evolving developmental math reform in community colleges, this study surveyed California community college math faculty who taught accelerated developmental courses or corequisite support courses. The survey was conducted during the early implementation phase of both course types, during spring and fall 2018 terms. This study measured faculty’s self-reported provision of forms of non-academic support, frequency of implementation, and reasons faculty believed the support would help students succeed. The literature review guided grouping non-academic support into five forms: nurturing, helping students’ motivation, providing a growth mindset theory of intelligence, helping provide social integration, and helping to provide sense of belonging in part to assist in combatting stereotype threat.
Respondents reported providing all five forms of support, with the most frequent support and the strongest and most varied strategies provided for nurturing scenarios. Respondents provided least frequent and fewest different strategies to support social integration and sense of belonging scenarios. However, overall in open-ended questions, math faculty most strongly foregrounded helping students to get or remain connected to others and to work with peers and college services, so as to not feel alone, which points towards understanding and desiring to provide sense of belonging support.
This study suggests that math faculty might benefit from professional development focusing on training to implement brief activities that strengthen students’ sense of belonging, including readings about setbacks being common and temporary, remaining resilient, writing about math fears and concerns, and activities to help students find characteristics they share with peers.