College Student Retention

College Student Retention
Priscilla Ayala
Dan Barker
Holly Fischer
Luke Wawaru
Why Care?
1. The more successful amount of time a
student invests in college, the better she/he
is prepared for the real life.
2. Education is a great equalizer across social
and economic strata.
3. A vibrant nation’s economy is due in part to
its attainment in education which also
translates to a competitive advantage
Some consequences of leaving prematurely.
Precious time wasted.
Financial loss to student (Loans and poor credit score).
Financial loss to college (5000 x 10 = $50,000).
Negative publicity which can impact recruitment. (Social
media damage)
-Even with additional programs and services
retention in the first and second year has
remained virtually the same over time even
though logic dictates the opposite.
-This book addresses a number of areas critical
to the retention of students
Chapter One: PAST TO PRESENT: A Historical Look at
Terms that have evolved in meaning.
a) Students: The supply of and types of students served has
changed over the years. In the beginning the student body
consisted of a small, selective, generally homogenous group
of privileged individuals. Currently the student body
comprises of a diverse spectrum of individuals totaling to
b) Campuses: This term has evolved to represent a diversified
contemporary collection of campuses. (HBCUs included)
with different environments to cater for specific
c) Education Roles:
The roles of faculty and other educators
e.g. student affairs have changed. In the beginning the faculty
(at times one or two) were a one stop shop doing everything
from admission, teaching, discipline Moved to specialized
roles but there are a move to involve all educators in these
efforts (MSU?)
d) Socioeconomic Conditions: These over time have also played
a key role in affecting the development of retention. The
demands placed on higher education by the society have
increased as has the demand for college graduates with
earned degrees. This exponential growth in higher education
has increased concern for retention. Retention is a key
outcome indicator placed on institutions by policymakers in
many state-funded institutions.
e) Policies and Interventions : The federal governments Morrill
Acts, GI Bill, Civil Rights, and financial aid have increased
access. This access is aimed at degree attainment rather
than just college attendance. Colleges have forged retention
efforts to demonstrate that access will realize such goals.
Retention used as driver to determine funding.
f) Knowledge Base: The empirical and conceptual knowledge
base has grown and shaped retention efforts. The earliest
studies on student mortality (retention) began in 1930s but
it was 1960s that saw a systematic knowledge base begin to
emerge. Early studies focused on single institutions but now
the studies focus more on specific types of students of
g) Conceptualization of Retention: Retention was viewed
differently in different times.
Some closely related but not synonymous terms.
• Attrition: Student who fails to re-enroll in consecutive semesters.
• Dismissal: A student who is not permitted to continue enrollment.
• Dropout: A student whose initial educational goal was to complete at
least bachelor’s degree but did not.
• Mortality: Failure to remain in college till graduation.
• Persistence: The desire to remain in college from start to degree
• Retention: Ability to retain a student from admission to graduation.
• Stopout: Temporary withdrawal from institution or system.
• Withdrawal: Departure of a student from college or university campus.
Withdrawal may be voluntary or involuntary.
Historical Overview
American colleges have existed for over 300 years during which
missions and curriculum have changed and have affected the
nature of retention. The historical stages below are just to serve
as a map for understanding retention over the years.
a) Retention Pre-History (1600s – Mid 1800s)
There was no need to consider retention as there were few
students attending colleges and few were interested in
College church based and were primarily for meeting the local
demand for pastors and missionaries. E.g. Harvard (1636),
William and Mary (1693), and Yale (1701).
Historical Overview
b) Evolving Toward Retention (Mid 1800s-1900)
• Although retention was still not a major concern, this era was
characterized by an increase in degree attainment thus creating
a complete collegiate experience.
• Men from all religious denominations were admitted.
•Sons from elite families enrolled to emulate their fahers.
•No evidence that degree attainment was emphasized.
•Collegiate education continued to expand leading to diversity in
the student body which included women. Oberlin was the first
to admit women.
•Signing Morrill Land Grant Act (1862) happened in this era.
•College transformed to university.
•Institutional survival was emphasized than persistence.
Historical Overview
C) Early Developments (1900-1950)
Constant enrollment growth.
1895: Big colleges had 2000 students. 1915: The same had 5000 students.
Why the growth? A) Industrialization (B) Urbanization
Selective admissions and creation of new institutions
High attrition rates.
Post-WWII: Higher ED golden age of expansion.
d) Dealing with Expansion (1950s)
•National Youth Administration & GI Bill expanded opportunity to 1.1million vets
•Different pathway to achieve post secondary education e.g community college.
•Attention was more to whys of retention than how to curb until early 1970s
when decrease in enrollment was predicted.
Historical Overview
e) Preventing Dropout (1960s)
•The post-World War expansion and diversity in student body due to Civil rights
movement saw different challenges
•Events of 1960s brought the issue of retention home. Unrests due to
dissatisfaction with government and civil rights movement made colleges to
start monitoring enrollments
f) Building Theory (1970s)
•1970s dawned greater efforts to identify causes and solutions to the challenge
of retention.
•Spady (1971) published the sociological model of departure .
•Vincent Tito built his interactionalist
g) Managing Enrollments (1980s)
•This era was dominated by issues of enrollment management.
• Retention was becoming diversified to types of students, graduate vs
undergraduates, and even into community colleges.
Historical Overview
h) Broadening Horizons (1990s)
•Retention had become a full fledged area of study
•There was a re-emphasis on academics and student learning as well as
•Diversity in relation to color
i) Current and Future Trends (Early 21st Century)
• Retention is a major policy issue in higher education
•Virtually every campus uses retention as a key indicator of institutional
Conclusion: It is an open secret that retention was no concern during the first
few hundred years but has rapidly grown to become a core indicator and major
field of study in higher education.
Diversity has also been embedded in this interesting study that will continue
being as dynamic in the future
Voluntary school or college enrollment is not capricious
and is ever becoming more costly.
• Complicated to measure
• Cohorts: A clearly defined group at one point in time, place,
and with demographic and enrollment characteristics.
• Denominators: The initial number that is used to identify a
cohort and remains fixed throughout.
• Numerators: The number that remains as the cohort
diminishes due to other factors.
There is an abundance of studies about college student
retention. 10 theories, models and concepts are presented in
this chapter.
John N. McNeely
• Earliest study of attrition.
•Gross mortality( Leaving after four years without obtaining a
degree and may return later) and net mortality (students leave
and fail to return at a later date).
•McNeely did not incorporate ethnicity even though Howard was
an HBCU.
John Summerskill (1962)
•His recognition of motivational factors related to student
attrition grounded in psychological and sociological concepts and
theory provided impetus for subsequent theory-based research
in student retention.
Alexander W. Astin (1975, 1985)
Recognized two main predictive factors on student retention.Personal and environmental factors.
William G Spady (1970)
He suggested that student retention research fell into these 6
categories: Philosophical/theoretical (used assumptions and
made recommendations to stop attrition), census (extent of
attrition), autopsy (self-reported reasons on why student left.),
case studies, descriptive, and predictive (how to admit those
who will persist).
John W Meyer (1970)
His argument was that institutions of higher education were
socializing organizations and that they had the ability to
influence values, personality needs, and social roles or identities
which he called charter.
David H Kamens (1971)
He suggested that his research was an extension of Meyer’s
(1970) sociological paradigm.
The structural linkage to occupational and economic groups had
the ability to bestow a social status which in turn impacted
student retention and occupational choices.
Vincent Tinto (1987)
His theory was centered on individual departure from college.
• He said there were three stages of progression in order to be
integrated into college community.
Separation from communities of the past
Transition between communities
Incorporation into the community of the college.
He saw the impact of external events but saw them as secondary
John P Bean (1980)
Unlike Tinto, he appeared to have placed emphasis on environmental
factors on student retention.
John P Bean and Barbara S. Metzner (1985)
They argued that student retention theories from Spady (1970), Tinto (1975), and
Pascarella (1980) focused heavily on social variables and contributed very little to
nontraditional student retention.
They hypothesized that the decisions to dropout for nontraditional students were
influences by either academic, background, psychological, or environmental.
Alan Seidman (2005)
He based his theory on Tinto’s (1987) retention model.
His retention formula: Retention = (Early Deficiency Identification + Intensive
• It is not possible to analyze all student retention theories in a single chapter.
• No single intervention will adequately prevent students from leaving college.
Chapter Four
• The problems associated with an appropriate measurement
system are common to other often-researched outcomes in
higher education.
– The power to retain students remains the most crucial outcome
if students are to be successful in life.
• Measuring college student retention remains complicated,
confusing, and context-dependent.
• Chapter promotes the recognition and differentiation of
different types of college retention and promotes a more
complex, rather than simplistic, measurement system
within an environment that requires more differentiation.
Retention and Dropout
• Most widely used dichotomous measures in
educational research and practice are
retention and dropout.
– Retention: Staying in school until completion of a
– Drop out: Leaving school prematurely.
Dropout, Graduation, Persistence,
Retention, and Attrition
• A dropout may eventually return and transform
into a non-dropout any time prior to death,
thereby negating any earlier designations used
from studies, research, or retention rates.
• Retention is an institutional measure.
• Persistence is a student measure.
• Attrition is the reduction in numbers of students
resulting from lower student retention.
• Graduate: A former student who has completed a
prescribed course of study in a college or
Models of Retention
• Tinto’s Integration Model
• Student Attrition Model
• Contemporary Retention Researcher, John
Measuring Retention
• The US government has established a federal
definition of graduation rate as part of the
Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act.
– The graduation rate was defined as the percentage of
full time, first time, degree seeking enrolled students
who graduate after 150 percent of the normal time
for completion: six years for four year colleges, and
three years for two year colleges.
The Practices of Measurement
Two federal retention formulas employed :
RR less than 4 year=((number of students re-enrolled in the following fall+number of students who have
completed)/(number of students in the fall cohort-exclusions))*100
IPEDS RR 4 year=number of students re-enrolled in the following fall/(number of students in the fall
Common Data Set
• The Common Data Set (CDS) is a joint effort by the higher education community and publishers
including the College Board, Peterson’s, US News and World Report, and others to establish and
develop clear standard definitions on the data items to be used in educational research.
• The Research and Planning Group for California and the Transfer and Retention of Urban
Community College Students Project both support the use of the successful course completion
ratio (SCCR).
Types of Retention
Four basic types:
1. Institutional Retention
2. System Retention
3. Retention within a Major
4. Retention within a Course
Problems with the Current
• The current definitions and formulas do not include all
students and as such may provide inaccurate measures of
• Furthermore, there may be a bit of university sleight of
hand associated with practices that reflect on reported
• The current formulas for retention include those students
who are more likely to persist and thus may provide an
inflated figure less representative of the variation of
student persistence.
• The formula excludes: part time students, returning
students, transfers, and students who prematurely leave
after the second year of enrollment.
Proposed Formulas
New proposed formulas
• Pure institutional persistence: Performed annually=
Current total FTE degree-seeking enrollment-(current year
newly enrolled students)/Past year’s fall FTE degree-seeking
enrollment+(FTE enrollment of degree-seeking spring and
summer)-FTE graduates
• Pure system persistence: Performed annually=
Current total national FTE degree-seeking enrollment-(current
year newly enrolled students)/Past year’s total national fall
FTE degree-seeking enrollment+(FTE enrollment of degreeseeking spring and summer)-FTE graduates
• Retention not only has a impact on the
individual and her or his family, but also
produces a ripple effect on the postsecondary
institutions, the work force, and the economy.
– College Effect
– Work Effect
– Economic Effect
Chapter Five
• Financing higher education has become a
complex, high stakes activity for students and
their institutions.
• The chapter will examine some of the salient
issues related to how students finance their
education, the amount of debt they incur to
finance their education, and the implications for
institutions of higher education when students do
not persist to graduation.
Current Fiscal Environment
• Contemporary financing of higher education
has involved an increasing reliance on
students and their families to provide
revenues for colleges and universities.
• Students in turn increasingly are relying on
financial aid to finance their education.
How Institutions of Higher
Education are Financed
• One of the most important trends in higher education finance over
the past two decades is the ever-increasing reliance that
institutions of higher education have on tuition and fee revenue.
• Four year public institutions received 20% of their revenues from
tuition and fees, compared to 78% at private not for profit
– Public Institutions: Received in constant dollars $2133 per student in
– Private, Not for Profit Institutions: Received in constant dollars from
tuition and fees per student in 2006-2007 $16, 676.
– Private, for Profit Institutions: They rely more on tuition and fee
income than state supported institutions and private not for profit
institutions. They do not receive state appropriations as do public
institutions, and they receive very little income from investments
when compared with private, not for profit institutions.
How Students Pay for Their
• Students use a variety of sources to pay for their
postsecondary education, including savings, work,
assistance from parents, and financial aid.
• Financial Aid: Large, complex enterprise.
– In 2009-2010, financial aid to undergraduates totaled
$154.46 billion, and the largest single source of this aid
took the form of federal loans, $65.8 billion or 43% of all
undergraduate aid.
– Four forms:
Tax Credits and Deductions
Institutional Costs for NonPersistence
• Three Elements:
– Immediate Direct Costs
Student Recruitment
Financial Aid
Lost Tuition Income
Other Lost Income
– Immediate Indirect Institutional Costs
• Faculty and Staff Salaries
• Facilities
– Long-Term Institutional Costs After Students Leave
Chapter Six
• Degree completion is one of the few student outcomes
in higher education in which virtually all constituents
have a stake.
• Three types of information that can be useful in
estimating any student’s chances of completing
college: pre-college characteristics of the student, the
characteristics of the college that the student attends,
and environmental contingencies of attendance.
• Rely on multi-campus studies involving diverse samples
of baccalaureate-granting institutions rather than
studies conducted at single institutions.
Previous Research
• A substantial portion of the
empirical research on
undergraduate degree completion
during the past 30 years has
focused on the development and
testing of theoretical models for
explaining degree attainment.
Method and Data Analysis
• The data for this study was drawn from a national sample of baccalaureate-granting institutions
that participated in the Cooperative Institutional Research Program’s annual survey of entering
freshmen in the fall of 1994.
• A total of 90,619 students were selected at random from each of the 424 institutions in the original
national sample.
• Degree attainment data was eventually received on 56,818 cases at 26 institutions.
Data Analysis
• A series of weighted descriptive analyses were run to examine degree attainment differences by
institutional type, gender, and academic achievement.
• Employed a series of stepwise linear regression analyses.
• The dichotomous dependent variables used in the analyses were either: degree completion within
four years or degree completion within six years.
• In each regression analysis of the independent variables were organized into three blocks according
to their presumed temporal order of occurrence: pre-college entering student characteristics,
environmental contingencies, and institutional characteristics.
• Degree Attainment by Institutional Type, Gender,
and High School Grades
• Pre-college Characteristics Influencing Degree
• Environmental Contingencies Affecting Degree
• Institutional Characteristics that Affect Degree
Ch. 7: The Community College
Retention Trends and Issues
Gloria Crisp and Liliana Mina
Overview of Community Colleges
• Community colleges’ highest degree:
associate’s degree
• Serves 40% of nation’s students
– Increased amount of minority and low-income
• Biggest issue: Retention
• Goal: To improve retention rates and other
measures of success
Historical development and functions of
community college
• Original idea: to create junior college to rigorously
help prepare students to transfer to a 4-year
– Preparatory, pre-professional, terminal GenEd., &
terminal occupational purpose
• Due to social forces over the years, led to demand
“open admissions policy”
– Industrial revolution
– Social movements (women’s, civil rights, baby boom)
– G.I. Bill of Rights of 1944
Role of community colleges
Purposes under “open
Redirects careers of seasoned workers
Offers Gen Ed.
Provides workforce development and training
Serves the gifted by offering dual credit classes
Serves first generation students
Serves students from low SES backgrounds
• Challenge:
1) Serving traditionally underserved populations, because need more
assistance for development, academic and social programs
– Realities of low SES students backgrounds
– Community colleges try to close performance gap
2) How to provide a rigorous curriculum for the gifted and for the
academically underprepared.
The Role of Federal and State
• Community college purpose economically: Vital
in training and retraining workforce while
bringing growth in the communities they serve
• Concerns: Financial assistance
– Funding has decreased, need has risen, thus
community colleges are educating more with less
• American Graduation Initiative (AGI)
• Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act
• Pell Grants
Community College Students
• Community college serves a variety of students
for different reasons
• Study: Beginning Postsecondary Longitudinal
Study (BPLS)
• Community college students vs. 4-year degree
– Comm. College students tend to be:
• African American or Latino, independent, 1st generation, less
academically prepared, work full time or part time during
college, having lower degree aspirations, attend college part
time, delaying enrollment into college after high school,
receive less financial aid, and earning a lower GPA first year
Community College Students cont…
• Different types Comm. College students
– Transfer students
– Vocational
– Developmental students
– Community education students
– Dual Credit
Community College Retention
• Reasons for differences in retention rates
– The student
• Less likely to be academically prepared
• Are the eldest, from a low SES background or minority, 1st
generation, single parent, lack social and cultural capital which can
attribute for reasons to withdraw
• Not having a HS Diploma, rigor core in HS, financially independent,
face financial concerns, delayed entry to IHE
– College Experience
• More likely to drop out than 4-year students
• Less integrated and involved socially and academically like 4-year
– Community College Context
• Different institutional practices such as part time instructors
Retention issues facing community
• Issues:
– Can’t increase their retention or graduation rate by
raising admission standards
– Are required to offer remedial classes to underprepared
– Have fewer time and opportunities to engage students
– 4-yr students will enroll full time, live on campus, have
ample time to study outside of class to study with other
students, participate in activities, speak with faculty,
– Variety in reasons for attending community college
– Not enough institutional resources to assess retention
issues, or resources for faculty development
Retention issues cont…
Other challenges: increasing enrollment, unreliable funding, and increasing
responsibility, lack of methodologically sound research being conducted to
inform institutional policy and practice
o Not enough research on community college, and if so, its unpublished, not
widely disseminated and/or not peer-reviewed,
o No scholars who attended 2 year colleges are conducting research limiting
ability to interpret or make sense of findings
o Databases are limited in detail provided to provide about institutional
characteristics and practices to allow for evaluation of policies, programs,
practices related to student success
o Persistence theory does not address diversity of students, the community
college experience or context
o Retention theory claims that students withdrawal decisions can be explained by
social and academic integration (Tinto 1975-1993) and involvement on campus
(Astin, 1977, 1993)
Must understand difficulties and limitations in measuring retention among
community college students
Ch. 8: Pathways to a FourYear Degree
By: Alberto F. Cabrera, kurt R.
Burkum, Steven M. La Nasa, and Erin
W. Bilbo
- Degree attainment rates of socioeconomically disadvantaged
students significantly still lag behind
- Parents with low SES are less involved and/or have little
knowledge about college attainment,
- Students from low SES are less likely to have be prepared
academically or college
- Such student assistance programs like TRiO, Gear-Up, addresses
barriers to success for low SES by enhancing their access to
academic preparation opportunities, college information, and
assistance in completing the college application process
- Federal and state aid programs recognize high cost deter
- Postsecondary attendance and degree completion differ
between students with low and high SES
Pathways to a four year degree
- Determinants of a 4 year degree completion:
(Based off HS Sophomore 1980 cohort Study)
• Attending a 4 year IHE right out of high school than
going to 2 year
• College preparedness and academic resources
students have during high school ; GPA and rank,
rigorous curriculum, and aptitude test scores
• Studies find that students from high SES were more
likely to earn 4 yr. degrees than their less advantaged
peers and more likely to secure a 4 yr. degree than
their disadvantaged peers regardless academic
preparation or port of entry
Determinants of degree completion
• Factors that influence completion:
Background characteristics
Supports received in high school
Academic resources acquired prior to college
Degree attainment aspirations
Pathways to and through college
Collegiate experiences
Financial aid
Parental responsibilities
Degree Completion and Pathways
to and through College
• Factors should considered and addressed:
– Delayed entry
– Low SES students
– Students engagement
• Cognitive and affective development
– Commitment to academics and relationship
building with faculty
– Parental responsibilities
What really facilitates degree
A) Supports Received in High School
Having parent or peer support go to college increases students chances of earning a 4 year degree
B) Academic Resources
Students’ academic resources had a big effect on their degree completion
C) Attainment Aspiration
Students with college degree aspirations were 23% more likely to achieve their attainment goals
D) Pathways to and through college
For those who first enrolled in a 4 year or 2 year institution were 46% and 18% more likely to earn
a college degree than those who initially enrolled at an institution. Offering less than 2 year
Lowest SES who first enrolled in a 2 year or 4 year was 46% and 69% more likely to earn a 4 year
degree than their peers who first enrolled in a less than 2 year institution.
i. More than 22% of low SES within the study began their postsecondary at a less than 2 year school
ii. Those who did not maintain continuous college enrollment were 23% less likely to earn a bachelor’s
What really facilitates degree
E) Collegiate Experiences
Collegiate experiences had a positive impact on degree completion outcomes across all students within the study
Academic performance
ii. Curriculum
iii. High quality instruction
F) Financial Aid
Those who received grants and loans were more likely to complete a 4-year degree than peers who received no aid
i. Receiving grants increased students’ degree completion by 7%, and receiving loans increased attainment by 10%.
ii. Lowest SES students who received loans or grants increased their degree completion outcomes by 11% and 8%
G) Parental Responsibilities
College students who needed to care for child or children were 22% less likely to complete a 4-year degree than peers without
any parental responsibilities
i. Highest SES students with children who were 46% less likely to earn a 4-year degree than those without family obligations
ii. Lowest SES students with parental responsibilities were 13% less likely to complete their degrees than those who did not
need to care for children
Ch. 9 Online Student Retention
- Current realizations:
1. online and real-time deliveries of courses are not that different
2. a blended approach may be best
3. More students are wanting and already are taking the entire academic
program online because of convenience and access it offers
- Technology advancement to view class lectures in the classroom or
on an electronic device does not change developmental needs that
the student has, such as a quest for identity or finding a purpose in
- Challenges:
1. retaining online students
2. accommodating both digital natives and digital immigrants in distance
learning in their specific needs
The online student
- internet is given ability to make distance learning
possible, and more IHE are making their content freely
- A present time, higher education has not reached an
academic singularity where everyone is connected
- Since complete academic programs are becoming more
in demand, then more IHE need to re-examine their
services to support the student experience, the online
process and acknowledge paradoxes
Themes of Retention
• Based off Bean (2005) study on online students
• Themes of retention
Relationship to the institution
Psychological processes and key attitudes
Social Factors
Organizational factors
External environment
Student’s background
Money and finance
Things to consider
• How can higher education be retained, when
online education is getting more accessible?
• What other services or programs help
community colleges? Students with low SES?
• Are there any other factors you can think of
that attribute to degree completion?
Chapter 10: Student Persistence
and Degree Attainment beyond
the First Year in College
• The intense focus on the first year in college
has shifted problems with attrition from the
first year to subsequent years. According to a
study in 2004:
• 12 percent of the entering cohort withdrew
during the first year
• 16 percent withdrew during the second year
• 6 percent dropped out after the second year
Purpose of Chapter and Research
• The intent of the chapter is to provide an overview of
research specific to students’’ persistence decisions beyond
the first year in college.
• Theoretical Frameworks Guiding Persistence Research
• Many of the research used the following theories
• Tinto’s model of student integration
• Bean’s student attrition model
• Astin’s student involvement perspective
• Nora and Cabrera’s student adjustment model
• The researchers combined and adjusted the models to
culminate in the creation of the student engagement model
The Study
• The stud follows a cohort of students from 2003-2004
and looks at their pre-college experiences, college
enrollment behavior, and outcomes.
• Demographic Profile
– Entering Cohort
• Females comprised 58% of students who entered postsecondary
• 63% of the sample was white, 14% were African American, 13%
were Hispanic, 5% were Asian American, and 5% were more than
one race
• The average age of students was 22 years
• Nearly 80% of students received some form of financial aid during
the first year of college and almost 31% had delayed enrolling in
college after high school
Students Who Withdrew During the
Second Year
– Roughly 16% persisted through the first year, but left
before the end of the second year
– Students who were more likely to withdraw were
more likely to be African American of Hispanic
– Students who withdrew were slightly older (23 vs 22)
– Students who withdrew had lower educational
– Were more likely to have delayed entering college
after high school
– Students were more likely to have a mother and
father not complete college
Students Who Withdrew from the
Third Year
• 6% of the entering cohort persisted through the first
and second years by withdrew before the end of the
third year
• White and Asian American students are least likely to
withdraw during the third year
• A greater proportion of African American and Hispanic
students withdrew
• A greater than average amount of the students were
• Almost all of the characteristics were similar to the
second year
Profile of Pre-College Experiences
– Entering Cohort
• 27% of the students earned a GPA between a 3.5 and a
• 26% earned a 3.0-3.4
• 20% earned a 2.0-2.9
• 2% had less than a 2.0
• There was great variation between math completed
Profile of Pre-College Experiences
• Students who withdrew during the second year of
– Only 11% of students who withdrew during the second
year had 3.5-4.0
– Students with lower math performance were more likely
to not persist
• Students who withdrew during the third year of college
• The students who withdrew had lower high school
GPAs, were less academically prepared for college
mathematics, and were less likely to have earned
college credits during high school
Profile of College Experiences
– Entering Cohort
• 49% of the entering cohort began their education at a
four-year institution
• 51% were at a technical or community college
• 63% were at a public institution
• 23% attended a private not-for-profit
• 14% enrolled at a private for-profit college
• 77% enrolled full-time
• 13% were part time
• 10% were a combination of the two
Profile of College Experiences
– Students who withdrew during the second year of college
• Students who attended a technical or community college during
their first year were substantially more likely to withdraw during
the second year (75%)
• A higher number that withdrew also came from proprietary
• Students who attended college part-time were more likely to
– Students who withdrew during the third year of college
• These students were found to be similar to the students from the
second year withdrawal students except
• A higher number from this group were from public institutions
Additional Research
• Demographics:
– Female students were 61% more likely to drop out during the 4th year
– African American students had a higher risk of dropouts in year three
than white students
– Students that come from a low SES household were more likely to
drop out in years 2 and 3
• Financial Assistance
– Research suggests that receipt of financial aid may increase the odds
that a student will remain in college
• Pre-College Factors/Experiences
– 87% of the students who had completed an advanced high school
curriculum were still enrolled in an institution
– Students who have the highest quartile of SAT scores were at a lower
risk of withdrawing relative to students who scored in the lower three
Additional Research Cont’d
• Social and Academic Integration
– Students who received academic and personal and counseling and also
attended an orientation program were much more likely to persist
– Social connectedness and commitment to college have direct positive effects
on retention to the third year of college
• Environmental Pull Factors
– Factors that have been found to “pull” students off campus include
• Living off campus!
• Working more than twenty hours per week
• And being a part-time student
– Students who had on-campus jobs were more likely to be retained
– Students who lived on-campus were much more likely to persist
• Institutional Characteristics
– Hispanic students that attend a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) were more
likely to persist
– Students who attended non-selective institutions were less likely to persist
Chapter 11: Moving from Theory
into Action
• This chapter is laying the groundwork for the possibility of a
theory for student success at an institution. The chapter
starts with defining different aspects of retention and
building upon different theories and research in retention
• Reflection on current debates of a theory of institutional
• Defining Student Leaving
– Not all leaving is bad and may not be a failure
• A student may see as transferring to another institution as a way to
ensure their success
• Leaving may result as a response to external commitments that pull
students away from the institution
– Theories about student leaving are only the rough material that
predict reasons student leave and guide retention efforts
Student Success
• students are more likely to succeed when they find
themselves in settings that provide clear and high
expectations for their success, provide needed academic,
social, and financial support, provide frequent feedback,
and actively involve them, especially with other students
and faculty in learning
• this model sees student effort and learning as central to
student success
– It also sees the classroom as the critical ground upon which
student success is played out.
– It is a model that seeks to highlight those aspects of institutional
environments that are amenable to direct institutional action
that have been shown to influence success
Pedagogies of Engagement
• The question here is: what should universities and
colleges do to teach and recognize student
– Service learning: where students engage in service
activities that are connected to learning in the classroom
– The use of learning communities that require students to
enroll in courses together and share the experience of
learning a common coherent curriculum
– Classroom assessment techniques that provide students
and faculty frequent feedback about student learning
– The use of supplemental instruction strategies where
academic assistance is connected to specific courses and
to specific student academic needs
Learning Communities
– The author sees a very high importance in learning communities in
particular because accumulating evidence suggests that they offer a
particularly effective way of addressing the learning needs of a range
of students while also providing a structure for collaboration among
faculty and between faculty and student affairs professionals
– LLCs serve to build academic and social experiences which promote a
deeper, richer multidisciplinary learning that is typically not possible
when courses are unrelated on to another
– Research has shown that learning communities yield a number of
important benefits for students
• Students tend to develop supportive peer groups
• Students tend to spend more time together, in particular, more time studying
• In finding more support and spending more time studying, students I learning
communities become more involved in a range of learning activities, learn
more, and persist more frequently than do students in more traditional
learning settings
Chapter 12: Taking Action
• Ret=EID+ (E+In+C)IV; That is, Retention=EarlyIdentification +
• Over the years, colleges and universities have designed
programs and services to help retain students by trying
to ease student transition into the academic and social
systems of the institution. These programs and
services consist of orientation programs, counseling
and student development, assessment, remedial and
academic support services, and the development of
educational communities within the classroom among
others. Despite that, students are not retained at a
higher rate than they were twenty or more years ago
• When it comes down to it, retention equals Early Identification plus (Early
plus Intensive plus Continuous) Intervention.
• This applies to all students: right out of high school, adults, and retirees
• Positive experiences and interventions will reinforce persistence by
heightening individual intentions and commitments, whereas negative
experiences will weaken intentions and commitments
– Intentions can include the desire to earn a degree in a particular field of study,
whereas commitment is the student’s desire to complete that degree and
willingness to spend the time and energy necessary to obtain it
• Therefore, the greater the individual student’s levels of integration into
the social and academic systems of the college, the greater his or her
subsequent commitment to the college
• The formula: Ret=EID+ (E+In+C)
– It takes theoretical models a step further with one simple issue and way to
solve the issue
The formula
Early identification
– Is assessment of student skill levels
– The assessment of skill can take place at the time of application, through the thorough
examination of academic records and types of courses taken in high school
Early intervention
– Is defined as starting an intervention at the earliest time possible after identification.
– Intervention programs and services should be available as early in a student’s college career as
Intensive Intervention
– Is defined as creating an intervention that is intensive or strong enough to effect the desire
– This can result in a student spending five days per week in an intervention program
– The student must demonstrate that he/she has mastered the skills or social factors
Continuous Intervention
– Is defined as an intervention that persists until the change is effected
– The intervention can continue throughout the student’s college career
– Ideally, a student should not have to pass a course that makes them demonstrate skills they
already have
The Formula Cont’d
• In summary, the aim of the Seidman formula
is to identify a student in need of assistance
academically and/or socially as early as
possible, assess student needs, prescribe
interventions, and monitor, assess, and adjust
interventions where necessary
Implementing the Formula
• There is a two-pronged approach to implementing this
– First, term course prerequisites and course skill levels need
to be identified by the faulty
– What are the skills necessary in reading, writing, and
mathematics in a foundational or college entry-level class
for a student to be able to perform the work at a
satisfactory level
– Second, the student side of the model
• Student assessment is key
• Once faculty have identified what skills are needed to be
successful in the foundational entry-level class they teach, the
student skill levels must be determined
In Conclusion
Retention is complicated
There are many factors that go into it
There are many theories
It is more than just the first year
It is not as easy as it seems

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