ERIC Number: EJ1076327
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
Bimodal Inverted Bell Grade Distribution: Implications for Instruction and Student Retention
Gensheimer, Leah K.; Diebold, Charles T.
Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, v16 n3 p307-324 Nov 2014
College student attrition rates remain constant despite institution level efforts. This retrospective archival study examined how individual instructors at the course level might impact academic success and retention by acting on a real time at risk warning system. Five semesters of scores on the first exam in an undergraduate psychology course revealed a bimodal inverted bell grade distribution in which the majority of students, and nearly equal proportion, performed high (earned A or B) or low (earned D or F). Study 1 (N = 310) distinguished early high performers from low performers by examining academic major, academic level, early attendance, and early quiz performance. Study 2 (N = 158) distinguished those early low performers who ultimately succeeded in the course from those who did not by also examining optional opportunities for success built into the syllabus. Findings informed five specific recommendations within the control of the instructor.
Descriptors: Student Attrition, Academic Persistence, Undergraduate Students, Psychology, Grades (Scholastic), College Faculty, Academic Achievement, Academic Failure, Student Characteristics, Sampling, Measures (Individuals), Predictor Variables, Regression (Statistics)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A