Presentation on theme: "Theories of Retention and Student Success"— Presentation transcript:
1 Theories of Retention and Student Success Matthew D. Pistilli, Ph.D.Director of Assessment & Planning, Division of Student AffairsIndiana University-Purdue University IndianapolisJohn N. GardnerPresidentJohn N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate EducationJanuary 14, 2015 · Costa Mesa, CA
2 Prominent Retention Theories AstinTintoPadillaBean and EatonGardner
3 Astin’s Student Involvement Theory Focuses on three aspects of college:InputsEnvironmentOutputDeveloped as an alternative to other complex theories
4 Astin’s Student Involvement Theory (1984) InputsOutputEnvironmentAstin’s Student Involvement Theory (1984)
5 Definitions Involvement: The amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the academic experience. (1985, p. 134)Exists on a continuum, with students investing varying levels of energyIs both quantitative and qualitativeDirect relationship between student learning and student involvementEffectiveness of policy or practice directly related to their capacity to increase student learningFive basic postulataes about Involvement- 1. Investment of psychosocial and physical energy 2. Involvement is continuous, students invest varying levels of energy 3. Involvement has qualitative and quantitative features 4. Development directly proportional to quality and quantity of involvement 5. Educational effectiveness is related to level of student involvement(Astin, 1985, 1999)
6 InputsThe personal, background, and educational characteristics that students bring with them to postsecondary education that can influence educational outcomes (Astin, 1984).Astin (1993) identified 146 characteristics, includingDemographicsHigh school academic achievementPrevious experiences & self-perceptionsDemographicsCitizenshipEthnicityResidencySexSocioeconomic statusHigh school academic achievementStandardized test scoresGPAGrades in specific coursesPrevious experiences & self-perceptionsReasons for attending collegeExpectationsPerceived ability
7 Output Basic level More abstractly Academic Achievement Retention GraduationMore abstractlySkillsBehaviorsKnowledgeThe things we are attempting to develop in students
8 Environment Where we have the most control Factors related to students’ experience while in collegeAstin (1993) identified 192 variables across 8 overarching classificationsInstitutional characteristics Financial AidPeer group characteristics Major Field ChoiceFaculty characteristics Place of residenceCurriculum Student involvementInstitutional chars: Type, control, sizePeer group: SES, academic prep, values, attitudesFaculty chars: teaching methods, morale, valuesCurriculum: core courses, requirements for coursesFinancial Aid: Pells, loansMajor field choicePlace of residence: on/off campus, Greek housingStudent involvement: hours spent studying, number of courses taken in various fields, participation in various programs
9 Takeaways from Astin We have little control over inputs Outputs are usually measured in binary terms, but we have a greater opportunity beyond simply retaining/graduating studentsWe have a great deal of control over the environment into which we place our studentsWhat aspects of the environment can you focus on as you develop plans to increase student success?
10 Tinto’s Model of Student Departure Near-paradigmatic stature (Braxton, 1999)Based onDurkheim’s Theory of Suicidevan Gennep’s “successful rites of passage”Looks at students’ pre-entry attributes, goals & commitments, and internal/external experiencesTinto (1993) noted that “effective retention programs do not leave learning to chance,”but, rather, are intentionally created environments that ensure that learning will occur (p.147).(Tinto, 1993)
11 Tinto’s Model (continued) Considers both formal and informal interactions and experiencesDoes not leave learning to chance – intentionally creates purposeful environmentsPlaces strong emphasis on academic and social integration(Tinto, 1993)
12 Tinto’s Model of Student Departure (1993) First, students need to have access to retention programs that put their welfare above the institution’s goals. Second, retention programs should focus not just on a particular population (e.g., minority students, low-income students, athletes), but on students from all walks of life. Third, retention programming that can be deemed successful must work to provide a degree of integration for students into both the academic and social communities within an institution of higher education.As Tinto put it, “the ability of an institution to retain students lies … in the underlying orientation toward students [that] directs its activities” (1993, p. 146). In other words, just as students must commit to an institution in Tinto’s model, an institution must also commit to the success of students.Tinto’s Model of Student Departure (1993)
13 Takeaways from TintoStudents’ goals and external commitments are real factors in their success and persistenceStudents need to excel both academically and sociallyInitiatives such as learning communities, academically-themed housing, and leadership programs can increase academic and social integrationWhere are there opportunities to foster academic and social integration on your campus as part of your retention planning?
14 Padilla’s Conceptualization of Expertise Developed a theory based on minority student successIn short, what separates students who successfully complete college from those who do not graduate?Black Box ModelGeography of BarriersKnowledge acquisitionNegotiating BarriersSuccessful negotiation of BarriersDeveloped after studying successful minority students at an institution in the Southwest(Padilla, 1999)
16 Campus Experience: Geography of Barriers Incoming Students(Input)Graduates(Output)DropoutsCampus Experience: Geography of Barriers(Padilla, 1999)
17 Conceptualization of Expertise Heuristic Knowledge ComponentRules of ThumbCampus DependentExperiential LearningInitial KnowledgeTotal Knowledge at Graduation (compiled knowledge)Classroom LearningCampus IndependentThus, student has compiled knowledge in two distinct components:TheoreticalLearned through coursework and formal studyHeuristicBased in prior experiences and study, yet untested in a campus contextStudents use both theoretical and heuristic knowledge to navigate barriers encountered on campusIf a student has insufficient theoretical or heuristic knowledge to overcome a barrierStudents must acquire that knowledge on the spot in time to overcome the barrierIf they aren’t able to overcome the barrierStudents may be predisposed to leaving collegeIf a sufficient (undefined) number/type of barriers are not overcomeStudents will likely dropout of collegeSuccess, then, is predicated onThe salience of each barrier encountered and their ability to overcome a particular configuration of barriersImportant to note:Students are considered experts on being students and on campus barriersLaws, Axioms & PrinciplesThe gray curve is a potential distribution in the acquisition of theoretical and heuristic knowledge over time.Theoretical Knowledge Component(Padilla, 1999)
18 Takeaways from Padilla Our campuses are full of barriers for students – usually in the form of policies, regulations, and practices.Students are experts in their own success – and their peers’ failureHeuristic and/or theoretical knowledge must be tapped by students to overcome barriersWhat barriers exist on your campus that can be removed to facilitate processes students must navigate or to allow for progress towards degree objectives?
19 Bean and Eaton’s Psychological Model of Student Retention Based in four psychological theoriesAttitude-behavior theoryProvides overall structure of modelCoping-behavioral theorySelf-efficacy theoryAttribution (locus of control) theoryThese three things combine to form a model for understanding academic and social integration(Bean & Eaton, 1999)
20 Bean and Eaton’s Psychological Model of Student Retention (1999) Individual enters an institution with various psychological attributesAttributes are shaped by experiences, abilities, self-assessmentsSelf-efficacy, normative beliefs, past behaviors among the most importantInteractions occur between student and the institution/representatives from various officesThese interactions alone do not result in integrationStudents’ self-assessments during interactions with collegiate environments lead to a psychological determination of belongingnessEmotional reactions/feelings come into play hereUltimately, students’ ability to become academically and socially integrated (and, thus, persist), come from students’:Self-efficacy assessments (Bandura, 1997)Coping behaviors (French, Rodgers & Cobb, 1974)Loci of Control (Rotter, 1966; Weiner, 1986)Bean and Eaton’s Psychological Model of Student Retention (1999)
21 Takeaways from Bean & Eaton Students enter with characteristics over which we have little control (see Astin’s inputs)Interactions occur between students and the institution in many forms and on multiple occasions – but these interactions do not automatically integrate students into the environmentStudents determine the extent to which they belong during these interactionsHow can your retention plan work to increase the extent to which students believe they belong on your campus?
22 Definition of First-Year Student Success Academic Success/GPAThis broad definition of first-year student success is achievable only through partnerships.RelationshipsIdentity DevelopmentCareer Decision MakingHealth & WellnessFaith & SpiritualityMulticultural AwarenessCivic ResponsibilityRetention – the baseline
23 Broad discussion Commonalities Differences distinct enough to matter ApplicationWhat are your takeaways from these theories?What parts of these theories speak to your home institution?
24 ReferencesAstin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 24, Astin, A. W. (1985). Involvement: The cornerstone of excellence. Change, 17, Astin, A. W. (1993). What matters in college? Liberal Education, 79(4), Astin, A. W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40, Bean, J., & Eaton, S. B. (2001). The psychology underlying successful retention practices. Journal of College Student Retention, 3(1), Braxton, J. M. (1999). Theory elaboration and research and development: Toward a fuller understanding of college student retention. Journal of College Student Retention, 1, Padilla, R. V. (1999). College student retention: Focus on success. Journal of College Student Retention, 1, Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd Ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.