Characteristics of Persisting Students Utilizing the Retention Self-Study Framework: A Case Study
AuthorGasser, Ray F
AdvisorWoodard, Jr., Dudley B.
Committee ChairWoodard, Jr., Dudley B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAlthough retention has become a critical priority for most institutions, this interest has not yielded significantly increased retention rates over the past 30 years. Understanding how each individual institution could increase retention rates will help to avoid the critics of higher education who have grown wary over the increasing costs. In order to justify the increases in tuition, higher education must show that students can persist, graduate, and succeed in the 'real world'.This exploratory study seeks to provide insight into persistence by focusing on understanding the common themes of students who persisted. In 2001, Woodard, Mallory, & DeLuca published a research article providing a comprehensive structure that incorporates an extensive body of student retention research along with the authors' own research. The framework provides institutions with a model to explore the areas that affect student retention. The authors describe four major components to retention: the student sphere, institutional sphere, academic affairs sphere, and student services sphere. Within each of these spheres is a number of characteristics that research indicates effects retention. The Retention Self-Study Framework (2001) draws heavily from the research of Vincent Tinto (1975, 1987, 1993), John Bean (1980, 1983), Alexander Astin (1984), and Ernest Pascarella (1980).This study investigates the extent to gender, race, high school class rank, socio-economic status, institutional choice, financial aid package, and parents' education relate to the experiences within the Retention Self-Study Framework (Woodard, Mallory, & DeLuca, 2001).Utilizing the Retention Self-Study Framework, the author created a survey that asked students about each of the various characteristics within the four spheres described in the framework. The research was conducted at a large Research-Extensive university in southwest United States of undeclared majors. Utilizing both mixed methods, the research provides a fresh look at issues of retention and those experiences that are related to persistence and suggests implications for practice and future research.
Degree ProgramHigher Education