Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Committee Member

Tony Cawthon, Committee Chair

Committee Member

James Satterfield

Committee Member

Rachel Wagner

Committee Member

Michelle Boettcher


Community college practitioners are seeking innovative approaches to improve student retention and completion rates while also demonstrating the value of a community college education for students, families, and communities. Developmental education for underprepared students is a focal point for institutional reform efforts to impact student success because developmental education programs receive criticism for being a hindrance to college completion. One such criticism is that colleges use ineffective course placement practices to place students into developmental course pathways that they are unlikely to complete. In response to this criticism, institutions have adopted course placement practices that utilize multiple measures to determine the appropriate course level instead of relying solely on traditional cognitive measures, such as standardized tests, to predict student success. Many institutions seek insight from the use of non-cognitive predictors of success such as ratings available through the use of instruments such as Angela Duckworth’s Grit Scale or Emotional Intelligence questionnaires introduced by Daniel Goleman. The present study examined the relationship between students’ developmental math course grades and two non-cognitive traits measured by the TypeFocus™ Success Factors Questionnaire: (1) Willing to Compete and (2) Goal Persistence. The correlational research design aims to identify possible applications for using a measure of non-cognitive traits among community college students to inform a more accurate course placement process for developmental mathematics students.