ERIC Number: ED369027
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Aug-23
Reference Count: N/A
Causes of College Retention: A Systems Perspective.
York, C. Michael; And Others
The development of students should be the primary mission of higher education. The consequences of significant attrition in many universities are not trivial. This study identified relevant variables and appropriate methodologies for enhancing undergraduate retention at one university. By employing records analyses, system definition, and a longitudinal investigation, researchers examined the interaction of student characteristics with the institution. This archival approach tracked the matriculation of 1,722 fall 1987 enrollees over a 5-year period. Gender, ethnicity, high school GPA, and SAT scores influenced degree outcomes. Currently enrolled students and "non-persisters" provided qualitative data for three areas: (1) reasons for withdrawal from the institution; (2) negative critical incidents; and (3) areas of dissatisfaction. This information was categorized into major student-perceived problems and a flow chart of the students' academic progression was developed. Survey data concerning attitudes and behaviors related to adjustment were solicited at entry, mid-quarter, and before finals; comparisons were also made between first-quarter and upper level students. The multiple approach adopted here yielded information that might have been overlooked if the study had relied on a single data source or method. Results indicate that institutions must be aware of two key points: (1) the unique needs and challenges its students face; and (2) the time and location of weak links or gaps in the existing support systems. (RJM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Georgia Institute of Technology
Note: Paper presented at the Convention of the American Psychological Association (101st, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 20-24, 1993).