ERIC Number: ED370048
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Evaluation of Student Retention Programs: An Essential Component.
York, C. Michael; Tross, Stuart A.
Student retention continues to be an important concern among college and university officials; many programs have been implemented at postsecondary institutions to improve student retention, especially that of minority students. This paper examines the theory and practice of program evaluation in retention-focused programs. Program evaluations typically assess four different criteria for program participants: (1) reaction; (2) learning; (3) behavior changes; and (4) results. Such evaluations try to determine a program's worth, but a program's effectiveness can be difficult to validate. Even if a positive outcome is realized, there is no way of establishing which of the interventions actually resulted in the improved retention. A quasi-experimental approach is recommended for assessing retention programs where participants are not randomly selected, but do undergo pretest and posttest observations and are compared to control groups. An example is presented of such an evaluation by evaluating a 5-week summer bridge program designed to help minority students adjust to college life. The survey, which was developed in six stages, did show that the program helped students prepare for and adjust to college, but the survey did not document the program as an effective retention intervention. A number of ongoing evaluations are recommended for measuring retention effectiveness. (RJM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A