tc columbia

A Contextualized Intervention for Community College Developmental Reading and Writing Students

By: Dolores Perin, Rachel Hare Bork, Stephen T. Peverly, Linda H. Mason & Megan Vaselewski


Instructors in community college developmental education programs are constantly seeking new ways to improve outcomes for their students, but there has been a shortage of empirical studies on the effectiveness of such efforts.

This paper provides evidence on the potential efficacy of an approach to helping students develop an important academic skill, written summarization. In two experiments, a contextualized intervention was administered to developmental reading and writing students in two community colleges. The intervention was a 10-week curricular supplement that emphasized written summarization as well as vocabulary knowledge, question generation, reading comprehension, and persuasive writing. The intervention was based on reading passages from science textbooks, with generic text from developmental education textbooks added in the second experiment.

The findings of this study suggest that the intervention had utility for academically underprepared postsecondary students.

A brief of this paper, entitled A Contextualized Reading-Writing Intervention for Community College Students, is available for download.