Conditions that promote the academic performance of college students in a remedial mathematics course: academic competence, academic resilience, and the learning environment

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Researchers have postulated that math academic achievement increases student success in college (Lee, 2012; Silverman & Seidman, 2011; Vigdor, 2013), yet 80% of universities and 98% of community colleges require

Researchers have postulated that math academic achievement increases student success in college (Lee, 2012; Silverman & Seidman, 2011; Vigdor, 2013), yet 80% of universities and 98% of community colleges require many of their first-year students to be placed in remedial courses (Bettinger & Long, 2009). Many high school graduates are entering college ill prepared for the rigors of higher education, lacking understanding of basic and important principles (ACT, 2012). The desire to increase academic achievement is a wide held aspiration in education and the idea of adapting instruction to individuals is one approach to accomplish this goal (Lalley & Gentile, 2009a). Frequently, adaptive learning environments rely on a mastery learning approach, it is thought that when students are afforded the opportunity to master the material, deeper and more meaningful learning is likely to occur. Researchers generally agree that the learning environment, the teaching approach, and the students' attributes are all important to understanding the conditions that promote academic achievement (Bandura, 1977; Bloom, 1968; Guskey, 2010; Cassen, Feinstein & Graham, 2008; Changeiywo, Wambugu & Wachanga, 2011; Lee, 2012; Schunk, 1991; Van Dinther, Dochy & Segers, 2011). The present study investigated the role of college students' affective attributes and skills, such as academic competence and academic resilience, in an adaptive mastery-based learning environment on their academic performance, while enrolled in a remedial mathematics course. The results showed that the combined influence of students' affective attributes and academic resilience had a statistically significant effect on students' academic performance. Further, the mastery-based learning environment also had a significant effect on their academic competence and academic performance.