Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Kyle Cook

Second Advisor

Clare Irwin

Third Advisor

Michael Sampson


This study examined if a faculty-run Reading and Writing Lab at a small, private university in the Midwest helped traditionally underserved college freshmen taking developmental English classes increase their levels of self-perceived comprehension and confidence. Students who typically need to take developmental English classes include English as a Second Language (ESL) students, English Language Learners (ELL), immigrants, and first-generation students. Many of these students enter college and face economic and social disparity and may need more support than other students. This mixed methods study examined data from two surveys given to students taking the developmental English class. It also examined interviews with low, medium, and high users of the Reading and Writing Lab. A paired samples t-test analyzed the results from survey one and survey two that measured student confidence and self-perceived comprehension. Finally, a thematic analysis drew out themes from the interviews. Using a convergent mixed-methods design, the responses from the interviews and the results of the surveys gathered evidence to help understand the benefits of the Reading & Writing Lab. Research like this found the benefits of having a faculty led Reading and Writing Lab on a campus. Providing this service to help traditionally underserved students on campus was found to increase the confidence of these students and build relationships that helped them feel welcome and feel successful in class.