Date of Award

Fall 8-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Rhonda Bishop

Third Advisor

Dr. Mark Snyder


Student success in computer programming courses has been a long-studied problem and computer science major retention has historically been substantially lower than other majors. The issue of retention for computer science majors has become more pronounced in two-year, open-enrollment institutions. This quantitative study, grounded in Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, attempted to address some of the causes of poor retention for entry-level computer science majors at two-year colleges by looking for predictors of student success in their first computer programming course. Two of the intelligences from Gardner’s (1993) theory, Logical-Mathematical and Visual-Spatial, were used along with two factors: student success in previous mathematics courses and the student’s own perception of his or her programming skill. Three research questions guided the study and a survey instrument was developed to evaluate student success factors such as the number of credit hours enrolled and the amount of time spent on homework. Secondary data were obtained from the institution, which contained grades from math and programming courses. After analysis of the data, results indicated there was not a statistically significant difference in student success in entry-level computer programming classes after having taken at least a college-level math course. There was a significant different found for students who had completed an intermediate-level math class before taking their programming course. The findings of this study may be used to help two-year community college administrators determine the benefits of higher prerequisites for beginning programming courses to increase retention and student success.


Copyright 2015