ERIC Number: ED402961
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
Making Student Retention an Institutional Priority.
Sydow, Debbie L.; Sandel, Robert H.
In fall 1995, Virginia's Mountain Empire Community College conducted a study to determine the reasons behind an unusually high rate of student attrition. Withdrawal forms were reviewed for all students who withdrew from all classes before the end of the semester and telephone surveys were conducted with a representative sample of the students. In addition, surveys were distributed to all faculty to determine their perceptions of the reasons for withdrawal and methods to reduce attrition. Study results included the following: (1) more females than males withdrew and students between the ages of 20 and 25 were 1.77 times more likely to withdraw than students 19 or younger; (2) on withdrawal forms, 33% of students cited work conflicts, while 32% cited personal or family illness as the reason for withdrawal; (3) few students cited the cost of tuition or books as relevant to their decision to withdraw; and (4) the two categories of causes cited by faculty were obstacles created by personal circumstances or traits, such as poor health or low self-esteem, and academic specific obstacles, such as poor preparation or study habits. Recommendations based on the findings included studying and intervening in the education of students who made no progress during their first semester, allowing departments to set their own retention goals, developing a college-wide attendance policy, and providing retention training to faculty. The survey instruments are appended. (HAA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A