Date of Graduation

8-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Ketevan Mamiseishvili

Committee Member

James O. Hammons

Second Committee Member

John W. Murry

Keywords

Education; Aptitudes; Attitudes; Behaviors; First-year; Persistence; Retention

Abstract

Student persistence continues to be a topic of much research and discussion in higher education. Based on Bean and Eaton's (2000) psychological theory of persistence for its theoretical framework, this study examined the effect of students' demographic and background characteristics and students' self-perceptions on their first-to-second-year persistence at a small, private, faith-based institution. Demographic and background characteristics examined were gender, race/ethnicity, first-generation college student status, high school GPA, and type of high school attended. Four constructs from the CIRP Freshman Survey were used to examine student self-perceptions: (a) Habits of the Mind, (b) Academic Self-concept, (c) Social Self-concept, and (d) Likelihood of College Involvement.

This study utilized data from the CIRP Freshman Surveys administered to first-time, full-time students entering the institution in the study during the Fall of 2007 and the Fall of 2009 as well as institutional data collected by the university's Institutional Research Office. The final sample included 436 first-time, full-time students. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. Three of the demographic/background characteristics were found to be statistically significant in the study. High school GPA and type of high school attended positively influenced persistence to the second year of college while first-generation student status negatively influenced persistence to the second year of college. From the four CIRP constructs, Academic Self-concept and Likelihood of College Involvement both were found to be statistically significant with both constructs positively influencing persistence. The findings of this study have implications for both practice and policy at the institution where the study was conducted and possibly at other similar institutions.

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