Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Learning and Instruction


Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Xornam Apedoe

Second Advisor

Robert Burns

Third Advisor

Christopher Thomas


There is concern in California community colleges about student success because persistence rates have decreased and graduation rates have declined. Basic skills students are underserved and underprepared, and their success rates are lower than traditional students. Nine California Community College Student Success Task Force recommendations were designed to increase basic skills student success.

In this quasi-experimental study three basic skills English instructors were trained on two of the six autonomy-supportive instruction strategies. The training design was based on characteristics of effective ASI interventions and addressed recommendations to improve community college basic skills instruction with professional development on research-based pedagogies. The purpose of this study was to describe the impact of instructors' use of autonomy supportive statements that nurtured students' inner motivational resources and that provided informational feedback on their students' perceived autonomy and engagement.

Instructors attended a training session and two coaching sessions facilitated using ASI strategies. Data to measure instructors' autonomy orientation were collected using a slightly modified Problems in Schools questionnaire and transcriptions of instructors comments during classroom instruction, that were coded on the ASI Observation Coding Guide, a new instrument based on the literature. Student autonomy and engagement was measured with a new instrument, the Student Learning Survey that combined autonomy items from the Learning Climate Questionnaire and classroom engagement items from the National Survey of Student Engagement. Results were compared between groups and across measurement times for control and treatment groups.

Results showed that treatment instructors increased use of autonomy supportive statements and decreased use of controlling statements. Students reported higher perceived autonomy and increased engagement immediately following treatment, compared to pretest, but perceptions returned to pretest levels at the maintenance measure 3 weeks after posttest. Limitations were related the small population of instructors and a small student sample with missing data due to inconsistent classroom attendance. Suggestions for future research include replicating this study with a larger sample, providing scaffolds for faculty to sustain their provision of autonomy during maintenance, and providing an internet-based student survey available over a short amount of time to reduce the amount of missing student data.

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