ERIC Number: EJ1057967
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
Sociodemographic Diversity and Distance Education: Who Drops out from Academic Programs and Why?
Stoessel, Katharina; Ihme, Toni A.; Barbarino, Maria-Luisa; Fisseler, Björn; Stürmer, Stefan
Research in Higher Education, v56 n3 p228-246 May 2015
Current higher education is characterized by a proliferation of distance education programs and by an increasing inclusion of nontraditional students. In this study we investigated whether and to what extent nontraditional students are particularly at risk for attrition (vs. graduating) from distance education programs. We conducted a secondary analysis of cross-sectional institutional surveys deployed in the context of a public German distance teaching university among university graduates and dropouts (N = 4,599). Using binary-logistic multiple regression analyses, we predicted the likelihood of program attrition by students' membership in sociodemographic groups, their goal orientations, and the corresponding interactions. Results revealed higher risks to drop out from university for female, migrant, and fully-employed students, but lower risks for older and parent students. A higher importance of career development or personal development goals related to a lower risk for attrition. Moreover, data also provide evidence that among some student groups the likelihood to graduate (or to drop out) significantly depends on students' goal orientations. Results were robust across different academic faculties and were complemented by an analysis of dropout reasons. The practical implications of our findings are discussed with regard to designing equitable distance learning environments that value human diversity and quality of opportunity.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Higher Education, Distance Education, Nontraditional Students, At Risk Students, Student Attrition, Educational Technology, Surveys, College Graduates, Dropouts, Multiple Regression Analysis, Prediction, Probability, Student Characteristics, Socioeconomic Influences, Demography, Goal Orientation, Interaction, Gender Differences, Migrants, Student Employment, Age Differences, Child Rearing, Career Development, Individual Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany