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ERIC Number: ED550890
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 174
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-8092-2
Pathways to Success: A Case Study of Nontraditional Underprepared Students and Their Journey through a Class Integrated with Developmental Reading and Dental Science
Lovato, Stella
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas State University - San Marcos
The purpose of this multicase study was to explore with five students perceptions of their learning experiences and challenges faced while enrolled in a dental assisting course that is integrated with reading. The study was rooted in a constructivist framework both as a research paradigm and as a theoretical perspective regarding adult learning. The overall question that guided the study was, "How do adult students perceive their learning experiences in a technical course that is integrated with developmental reading?" Purposeful sampling was used in the selection of the five participants for this study. The primary method of gathering information was the use of an open ended, semi-structured interview guide for three interviews. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded, and a variety of themes emerged from this analysis. The findings revealed four main themes and thirteen subthemes. The main themes included: a) "Motivations," b) "Barriers," c) "Benefits" and, d) "Interactions." Within the first theme, "motivations" the subthemes were: a) "personal experiences motivated me" b) "others inspired me," c) "a dental career will let me help others" and, d) "it's all about learning and growing." Within the second theme, "barriers," the subthemes were: a) "I hope I can do this," b) "program design reduced institutional barriers," c) "it's all about life" and, d) "I am also learning a language." Within the third theme, "benefits," the subthemes were: a) "I have new found reading skills," b) "I understand better what I read," and, c) "the integrated class makes a difference." Within the final theme, "interaction," the subthemes were: a) "it's like a family" and, b) "connections lead to my success." Several conclusions were drawn from the analysis of this study. They include: *Opportunity coupled with an intense desire to learn enhances the likelihood of successfully completing the first dental assisting course. *Integrating developmental reading and a technical course enhanced learning experiences and led to student success. *Integrated coursework appears to enhance persistence thereby supporting the motivation to pursue the dream of completing a college degree, even though the participants were underprepared when they entered the program. *Integrated coursework necessitated a higher level of engagement and collaboration among the students and resulted in stronger motivation. *The need to succeed outweighed the difficulties presented by barriers that often prevent nontraditional students from successfully completing their first semester in college. Grant-funded program features also helped to reduce potential institutional barriers. The findings of this study yield recommendations for institutional practice and further research on the subject of integrated learning in community colleges. Ultimately, nontraditional students contribute to higher education by bringing a unique perspective to the classroom through the nontraditional life experiences they contribute to the learning environment. They can use these experiences to enrich the learning opportunities for themselves as well as the rest of the class. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A