NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED557850
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 241
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3037-9871-9
Using Propensity Score Matching to Model Retention of Developmental Math Students in Community Colleges in North Carolina
Frye, Bobbie Jean
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, North Carolina State University
Traditionally, modeling student retention has been done by deriving student success predictors and measuring the likelihood of success based on several background factors such as age, race, gender, and other pre-college variables, also known as the input-output model. Increasingly, however, researchers have used mediating factors of the student and thereby recognized that modeling student behavior requires not only an examination of pre-college characteristics, but also a study of the factors and behaviors that mediate between entry and successful completion of an academic program (Bahr, 2013). This study demonstrated the use of propensity score matching to model student retention of developmental math students in community colleges in North Carolina, specifically in terms of student-level and institutional-level predictors. Participants were students who had been referred into one or more areas of developmental math coursework and who were enrolled in at least one developmental math course during the study period. The population consisted of 2007-2008 new student cohorts at North Carolina community colleges. The student record datasets used in this study included demographics; course enrollment and completion; developmental placement; financial aid data; and transfer information available through the National Student Clearinghouse. In order to demonstrate the practical use of propensity score matching in retention research, propensity score matching was used to create equivalent study and comparison groups in terms of predictors at the academic, student (Titus, 2007), and institutional levels. Multilevel propensity matching was used to create two equivalent groups of students matched on the propensity to complete developmental math and to pass college-level math with a C or better. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a difference in outcomes between a comparison group of developmental math students who completed developmental math and attempted, but did not succeed, in college-level math, and a study group of developmental math students who completed developmental math and then attempted and succeeded in college-level math with a grade of C or better. The results indicated that, after matching, the average means differed between the two groups on key progress indicators. Specifically, the study group fared better than the comparison group and completed, on average, 25 more college credits at the community college. Completers of college-level math earned significantly more associate degrees than non-completers of college level math. Transfers to four-year and two-year institutions were common in both groups of students, and the study group (completers of college-level math) was twice as likely to transfer out of the institution. The results suggested that completion of developmental math and successful completion of college-level math were significant factors in student success outcomes in both student-level and institutional-level contexts. This study also confirmed variation between colleges, implying that administrators and policy makers need to strive to increase the number of students that are retained and complete college-level math with a grade of C or better. Future research examining institutional variation is needed to help explain the contextual variation that yielded different outcomes for students between institutions. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina