ERIC Number: ED485476
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: 87
The Role of Academic and Non-Academic Factors in Improving College Retention. ACT Policy Report.
Lotkowski, Veronica A.; Robbins, Steven B.; Noeth, Richard J.
American College Testing ACT Inc
This report provides information from a major technical study about the influence of non-academic factors, alone and combined with academic factors, on student retention and performance at four-year colleges and universities. A meta-analysis technique was used to identify the non-academic factors that had the most salient relationship to postsecondary retention. The extent to which each factor predicted postsecondary retention was also identified. Nine broad categories of non-academic factors were constructed to both structure the analysis and report the findings. Findings indicate that the non-academic factors of academic-related skills, academic self-confidence, academic goals, institutional commitment, social support, certain contextual influences (institutional selectivity and financial support), and social involvement all had a positive relationship to retention. The academic factors of high school grade point average (HSGPA) and ACT Assessment scores, and socioeconomic status (SES) had a positive relationship to college retention, the strongest being HSGPA, followed by SES and ACT Assessment scores. The overall relationship to college retention was strongest when SES, HSGPA, and ACT Assessment scores were combined with institutional commitment, academic goals, social support, academic self-confidence, and social involvement. In terms of performance, the findings indicate that of the non-academic factors, academic self-confidence and achievement motivation had the strongest relationship to college GPA. Of the academic factors, both HSGPA and ACT Assessment scores had a stronger relationship to GPA than did SES, the strongest being HSGPA followed by ACT Assessment scores and SES. The overall relationship to college performance was strongest when ACT Assessment scores, HSGPA, and SES were combined with academic self-confidence and achievement motivation. Recommendations include the implementation of formal retention programs that consider the academic, social, and emotional needs of students.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: ACT, Inc., Iowa City, IA.