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ERIC Number: EJ1148324
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1521-0251
Testing Our Assumptions: The Role of First Course Grade and Course Level in Mathematics and English
Callahan, Janet; Belcheir, Marcia
Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, v19 n2 p161-175 Aug 2017
Methods that provide an early indicator of factors that affect student persistence are important to colleges and universities. This quantitative research focused on the role of level of entry mathematics and English and also on grades earned in those classes, as they relate to persistence after 1 year. The research showed that by far, the variable most predictive of first-time, full-time students enrolling 1 year later was earning a grade of "A" in English. Compared with those who did not pass their first English course, students who earned an "A" were 3 times more likely to persist. The variables which at least doubled the likelihood of persistence included earning an "A" or a "B" in mathematics, a "B" in English, and taking an English course beyond freshman English. While course level taken was significant, the course level effect paled compared with grades earned as a predictor. This effect--of grade earned being more important than course level--included remedial coursework in mathematics and English. In addition, obtaining a high grade in English was equally important for both science, technology, engineering and math and non-science, technology, engineering and math majors. Finally, students who took both mathematics and English courses during their first year were more likely to persist than students who did not take both subjects.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; 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: Idaho (Boise)
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE0856815