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An Enrollment Management Journal Spotlight: Why Do Students Persist? 2010 Annual TG Training Conference Dr. Matt Stillman Director of Institutional Research.

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Presentation on theme: "An Enrollment Management Journal Spotlight: Why Do Students Persist? 2010 Annual TG Training Conference Dr. Matt Stillman Director of Institutional Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Enrollment Management Journal Spotlight: Why Do Students Persist? 2010 Annual TG Training Conference Dr. Matt Stillman Director of Institutional Research Southern Oregon University (541)

2 Overview 1. What is the problem? 2. What literature informs our knowledge of potential factors? 3. How was the study conducted? 4. What are the results of the study? 5. What might we do next? 6. Questions and discussion

3 Overview Quantitative study of pre-enrollment characteristics that influence persistence Only partial results presented today Presented from Southern Oregon University’s (SOU) perspective – easily replicable to many institutional settings Examined demography, secondary school experiences, and finances/socioeconomics

4 Problem Statement Retention at SOU is lower than it should be. We have not thoroughly studied pre-enrollment characteristics. The “replacement cost” of losing students is extremely high. State system and the Legislature are demanding more accountability. SOU’s reputation and marketability are partially tied to retention.

5 Literature: Demography Gender: not a reliable factor – many studies show a virtually indistinguishable retention differential Native Language: non-native English speakers at a higher risk – lower English proficiency skills and decreased levels of academic and social integration

6 Literature: Demography Religious Preference: slight disadvantage to students without a religious preference – lower levels of parental involvement and higher disciplinary risk Ethnicity: minority students (other than Asians) tend to persist at lower rates than Caucasians – lower levels of integration and academic preparation

7 Literature: Demography Distance from Home: Non-residents and students at a distance at a slight disadvantage – higher cost, lack of peers, and homesickness

8 Literature: Secondary School Experiences High School Grades: often considered the single best predictor – past academic performance is an excellent indicator of future performance Standardized Test Scores: slight predictive value – weak in comparison to grades and socioeconomics – adds little value when combined with other factors

9 Literature: Secondary School Experiences High School Type: little evidence to suggest any advantage to private high school students – any advantage is really a function of socioeconomic differences as opposed to pedagogical or environmental factors

10 Literature: Finances/Socioeconomics Parental Income: strong predictive factor – lower-income students often exhibit decreased academic preparation and have difficulty with social integration Parental Educational Level: very influential factor – first-generation students are disadvantaged by lack of parental role modeling, lower economic support, and decreased academic integration

11 Methodology Fall Administered CIRP’s Annual Freshman Survey (AFS) to new freshmen in SOU CORE classes (313 surveys collected) Submitted completed surveys to CIRP Scrubbed results to ensure validity of self-reported data Fall 2006 – determined which participants persisted and did not Performed Chi-Square to assess potential relationships (p<.05 level of significance)

12 Results: Demography Gender: Females = 66.5% persistence Males = 60.1% persistence Yielded no significant relationship (p =.140) Native Language: Native English = 64.3% persistence Non-native English = 58.8% persistence Yielded no significant relationship (p =.647)

13 Results: Demography Religious Preference: Minority/Non-Christian = 65.3% persistence Majority/Christian = 60.0% persistence Yielded no significant relationship (p =.241) Ethnicity: Asians = 76.5% persistence Native Americans = 66.7% persistence Caucasians = 64.2% persistence Hispanics = 46.2% persistence Blacks = 37.5% persistence Yielded no significant relationship (p =.370)

14 Results: Demography Distance from Home: Less than 50 miles = 65.9% persistence More than 50 miles = 62.2% persistence Yielded no significant relationship (p =.410)

15 Results: Secondary School Experiences High School Grades: A average = 73.4% persistence B average = 60.9% persistence C average = 52.6% persistence Yielded a significant relationship (p =.022) Standardized Test Scores: Above SOU Median = 68.2% persistence Below SOU Median = 59.3% persistence Yielded a significant relationship (p =.044)

16 Results: Secondary School Experiences High School Type: Private High School = 70.7% persistence Public High School = 62.2% persistence Yielded no significant relationship (p =.280)

17 Results: Finances/Socioeconomics Parental Income: Less than $30,000 = 64.6% persistence $30,000 – $59,999 = 65.2% persistence $60,000 – $99,000 = 61.3% persistence Over $99,000 = 57.0% persistence Yielded no significant relationship (p =.582) Parental Educational Level: College Graduate = 68.1% persistence Non College Graduate = 57.4% persistence Yielded a significant relationship (p =.015)

18 Conclusions Pre-enrollment characteristics that do not appear to be significantly related to SOU first- to second-year persistence: ▫Gender ▫Native language ▫Religious preference ▫Ethnicity ▫Distance from home ▫High school type ▫Parental income

19 Conclusions Pre-enrollment characteristics that do appear to be significantly related to SOU first to second year persistence (in order of significance): ▫Parental Educational Level ▫High School Grades ▫Standardized Test Scores

20 Next Steps Remember that the scope is limited. Consider replicating the study. Consider qualitative follow-up to determine reasons for non-persistence. Determine which factors are and are not available via standard institutional data sources.

21 Next Steps Discuss the findings with relevant stakeholders. Consider creating an “index” to help determine and alert early to students who may be at risk. Create and/or strengthen appropriate interventions and programs to best serve these students.

22 Questions and Discussion


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