Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William F. Pinar


Academically underprepared college bound students and remedial instruction at the collegiate level continue to be serious and recurring problems for postsecondary institutions throughout the United States. Although many institutions have attempted to address the academic needs of underprepared students by providing mandatory programs with varied approaches in reading, writing, and mathematics, educators, theorists, and scholars have given little attention to the effects of mandatory participation on students' perceptions of a remedial program or classroom. This research is designed to provide an inside view of the remedial classroom and underprepared African American students' interpretations of certain practices that may impact their potential for educational success. In this research, I examine the perceptions of ten students in an effort (1) to provide data that contribute to effective practices for remedial or academic support programs designed to enhance the basic skills of underprepared African American students who need transitional development in a postsecondary setting and (2) to offer recommendations of strategies, programs and proposals that will enhance prematriculation efforts and the academic preparation of African American students who seek higher education. I begin this research by providing an historical overview of remediation with attention being given to how institutions of higher education have never enjoyed an entering population of students adequately prepared for the demands of college level work. I focus a literature review on the persisting problems of underpreparedness and the varying remedial approaches designed to address this issue at the collegiate level. Through the voices of ten students, I attempt to provide an insider's view of the remedial classroom. I use their voices to document varied perceptions of current remedial practices at a postsecondary institution. I draw conclusions as to the impact of mandatory participation and students' perceived value of their participation which ultimately affects their persistence at the university. Finally, I recommend appropriate strategies and programs to facilitate and enhance the academic preparation of African Americans who continue to report to colleges and universities as underprepared students.