ERIC Number: ED217787
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
A Small "N" Intervention Approach to Attrition/Retention in Higher Education.
Boyd, Vivian S.; And Others
The literature and typical approaches to reducing attrition among college students are critiqued, and a strategy for the identification of different interventions likely to have positive effects on retention rates of different student subgroups is proposed. It is claimed that a small sample approach to empirical testing of the combinations of interventions and student subgroups should yield over time an inventory of interventions with particular subgroups and corresponding evidence as to their effects. A small sample research approach to the study of retention was operationally defined as groups of students no larger than 20, with the size varying as a function of the cost of the particular intervention. Attrition data from the University of Maryland, College Park, were used to apply this approach. Major findings were sharp individual differences among the types of students considering withdrawing, as well as the diversity of presenting problem situations. Attrition appeared to be multi-dimensional and highly complex. Interventions that may reduce the attrition rate among one group of students might be ineffective when applied to a different group of students. A plan for reducing attrition is outlined, which includes the following steps: identifying types of interventions and subgroups of target students, devising a series of studies employing different interventions with distinct subgroups of students, implementing the studies of various interventions on a small sample basis with control groups, and evaluating outcomes over at least a 2 to 6 year period in terms of behavioral criteria of retention/attrition. A bibliography is appended. (SW)
Descriptors: College Students, Dropout Prevention, Higher Education, Intervention, Predictive Measurement, Research Design, Research Problems, Sampling, Student Attrition, Student Characteristics
Counseling Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Maryland Univ., College Park. Counseling Center.