ERIC Number: ED478834
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Jun-3
Developing Structural Equation Models To Determine Factors Contributing to Student Graduation and Retention: Are There Differences for Native Students and Transfers?
Gao, Hong; Hughes, William W.; O'Rear, Michael R.; Fendley, William R., Jr.
Studies have provided conflicting findings on who is more likely to graduate or to persist in higher education. This study examined differences between native students and transfer students in terms of graduation and retention rates, sought to discover factors that impact students' persistence in higher education, such as a student's first-term grade point average (GPA), overall average GPA, age, gender, race, and residency (in-state versus out-of-state). The study aimed to develop a systematic and comprehensive model to determine the extent to which these factors interact and influence graduation and retention rates. All undergraduate degree-seeking students enrolled at an institution for the first time in fall 1994 were selected for the study. Of this group, 2,545 were first-time freshmen, and 1,194 were transfers. Findings agree with those from other studies that first-term academic performance is crucial for both native and transfer students in terms of their graduation and persistence. It also indicates that transfer credit hours do make a difference in graduation and retention rates. Transfer students who transferred less than 32 credit hours are less likely to graduate than native students, while transfer students with 32 or more credit hours transferred graduate at a significantly higher rate within 4 years than do native students. Structural equation models also indicate that transfer credit hours have a strong effect on transfer student graduation and retention rates. In agreement with other studies, this study finds that student ethnicity, sex, and age had no effect on student graduation or retention rates, but student academic performance did. (Contains 6 tables, 4 figures, and 17 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Research Forum of the Association for Institutional Research (43rd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 2-5, 2002).