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The effects of computer-aided instruction on African-American college students in a developmental reading course

, The University of New Mexico, United States

The University of New Mexico . Awarded


The purpose of this research was to study the effects of introducing Computer-Aided Instruction into the developmental reading program at a historically black college with a large population of at-risk African-American students. Over 60% of the developmental students are unable to meet the exit criteria, defined as scoring 12.1 Grade Equivalent on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test exit exam. Required to re-enroll in the non-credit course and repeat the material, students continue to fail, resulting in a cycle of failure which impacts their attitude toward the developmental reading program and reading in general.

This study compared two developmental teaching methods to determine if CAI (experimental) was more effective in improving the reading skills of these at-risk students versus the currently used text-based course (control). This study was conducted during the Fall 1998 and Spring 1999 terms, with a sample population of 454 college students including 274 control and 180 experimental participants. The passing rate for the CAI course was 35% (Fall) and 34% (Spring), while the control course was 32% for both Fall and Spring terms. The research determined that one semester of CAI did not significantly increase the passing rate.

To determine if two semesters of the same teaching method impacted the passing rate, statistics were gathered on participating research students who failed to exit during the Fall term. This sample population re-enrolled in the same teaching method for the Spring term and included 35 control and 32 experimental students. Students who repeated CAI had a 47% passing rate, while students who repeated the text-based course had a 29% passing rate. Female CAI students appeared to persist and succeed at a higher rate (71%) than male students. A longitudinal study is suggested to establish if repeated cycles of CAI continues to improve the passing rate.

While the passing rate for the course is a tangible value to discuss, impacting and improving the way these students view developmental reading remained a focal point for this research. By providing students with an alternative teaching method, these at-risk students were given the opportunity to experience academic improvement and success.


Fausti, L.J. The effects of computer-aided instruction on African-American college students in a developmental reading course. Ph.D. thesis, The University of New Mexico. Retrieved August 12, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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