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ERIC Number: EJ1143413
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Students' Network Integration as a Predictor of Persistence in Introductory Physics Courses
Zwolak, Justyna P.; Dou, Remy; Williams, Eric A.; Brewe, Eric
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v13 n1 p010113-1-010113-14 Jan-Jun 2017
Increasing student retention (successfully finishing a particular course) and persistence (continuing through a sequence of courses or the major area of study) is currently a major challenge for universities. While students' academic and social integration into an institution seems to be vital for student retention, research into the effect of interpersonal interactions is rare. We use network analysis as an approach to investigate academic and social experiences of students in the classroom. In particular, centrality measures identify patterns of interaction that contribute to integration into the university. Using these measures, we analyze how position within a social network in a Modeling Instruction (MI) course--an introductory physics course that strongly emphasizes interactive learning--predicts their persistence in taking a subsequent physics course. Students with higher centrality at the end of the first semester of MI are more likely to enroll in a second semester of MI. Moreover, we found that chances of successfully predicting individual student's persistence based on centrality measures are fairly high--up to 75%, making the centrality a good predictor of persistence. These findings suggest that increasing student social integration may help in improving persistence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida (Miami)
Grant or Contract Numbers: PHY1344247