Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1994


The purpose of this study was to determine students' classroom social environment needs by identifying characteristics of actual and ideal classroom environments as perceived by students taking developmental math or English courses in Virginia community colleges, characteristics of the actual classroom environments as perceived by their instructors, and characteristics of actual and ideal classroom environments as perceived by subgroups of students. The subgroups were formed by gender, race, age, type of developmental course, size of college, and whether students were first generation college students. The Adult Classroom Environment Scale was administered to students and instructors in developmental studies classes in Virginia community colleges during the Fall, 1993, semester. The statistical procedures used to analyze the data were t-tests for independent means, t-tests for dependent (correlated) means, analyses of variance, and the Newman-Keuls Post Hoc Multiple Comparison Procedure. Findings indicated that students and instructors viewed Teacher Support and Organization and Clarity as the two most prevalent dimensions in the classroom environment. Students' preference for an ideal classroom environment indicated a desire for increased attention to Involvement, Affiliation, Personal Goal Attainment, and Student Influence, but not to Task Orientation. Special ideal classroom environment needs were identified for subgroups. Younger, Asian, and American Indian students expressed a need for emphasis on Personal Goal Attainment and Student Influence. Teacher Support was especially important to women and men; white, Asian, and Hispanic students; younger and older students; both math and English students; first-generation and non-first-generation students; and students in large and small colleges. Instructors' views of the dimensions in the actual classroom environment were higher than students, except for Personal Goal Attainment and Student Influence.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access