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Institutions

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Title: Affecting Student Persistence via Institutional Levers: Author: ETS Administrator Last modified by: Dan Rogalski Created Date: 10/11/2006 12:03:01 PM – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Institutions


1
Institutions efforts to support persistence
Developing the big picture
  • International Assessment and Retention Conference

2
The BIG Questions
  • The limits of current theories and research on
    student persistence provide the backdrop.
  • What policies, practices, and organizational
    structures do institutions enact to try to
    enhance student persistence?
  • How do the ways in which students interact with
    and experience institutional practices influence
    their success and graduation?

3
A Metaphor for Our Efforts
  • I have 1.3 million to spend on retention
    programs and I only want to spend these dollars
    on programs that work.

4
Overview
  • We are interested in understanding how campuses
    can intervene to positively influence
    persistence.
  • Because the way that campuses deliver
    programmatic initiatives is so variable, we are
    also interested in how campuses organize
    themselves to address issues of student
    persistence.

5
Literature on Institutional Role in Student
Persistence
  • Many have pointed to the importance of this
    question (Braxton, 1999 Hossler, 2005 Perna
    Thomas, 2006 Tinto Pusser, 2006)
  • Policy levers
  • Work identifying pivotal practices
  • (Braxton, Hirschy, McClendon, 2004 Pascarella
    Terenzini, 1991 Stage Hossler,
    2000)
  • Directions identified through theory and research
  • (Braxton McClendon, 2001-2002 Peterson,
    1993)
  • Empirical record remains uneven
  • (Patton, Morelon, Whitehead, Hossler, 2006)

6
The College Board Pilot Study on Student
Retention
  • Two Foci for Development of New Surveys
  • Institutional Survey to enhance institutions
    understanding of the link between their own
    practices and student retention
  • Student Survey to explore how student
    experiences and attitudes about campus practices
    relate to persistence
  • Pilot Cycle Two Rounds
  • Broadened Goals for Institutional Survey
  • National-scope description and benchmarking of
    retention practices and policies at colleges and
    universities
  • Development of a survey for two-year colleges and
    universities
  • Focus groups to test and re-center constructs

7
Institutional Survey
  • College Board Pilot Study on Student Retention

8
Survey ofInstitutional Retention Practices
  • 2006 Survey of 4-year institutions in
    California, Georgia, Indiana, New York, Texas
  • Web-based administration
  • 275 institutions surveyed
  • Response rate of 32.8
  • Findings focus on
  • Retention Coordinator Institutional Retention
    Committee
  • Actionable Institutional Policies/Practices
  • Orientation
  • Academic Advising
  • First-Year Experience

9
Institutional Characteristics
  • Mean scores on select variables
  • Fall-to-fall retention rate for first-time,
    first-year students 78.1 (min 51 - max 99)
  • 72.3 of first-year students living in campus
    residence halls
  • Median financial figures
  • Instructional expenses 6,076/FTE
  • Tuition and fee revenues 8,207/FTE
  • Total revenue 70,643,587
  • Mean SAT scores
  • 995 (25th percentile)
  • 1195 (75th percentile)

10
Coordination of Retention Efforts
  • 73.9 have a retention committee
  • 72.1 report coordinating retention-related
    programs somewhat or to a great extent
  • Mean FTE devoted to research on retention
  • .78 FTE
  • Analyses identified patterns in how institutions
    coordinate retention efforts
  • Presence of a campus-wide retention committee
  • FTE devoted to research on retention
  • The respondents ratings of campus coordination
    of retention efforts

11
Retention Coordinators
  • 59.1 report having an administrator charged with
    tracking and improving retention persistence
  • 72.6 of these report that the retention
    coordinator has some or a great deal of authority
    to implement new initiatives
  • 43.1 of these report that retention coordinator
    has some or a great deal of authority to fund new
    initiatives
  • Mean FTE dedicated to retention coordinator role
    .29 FTE
  • Responses revealed patterns in authority
    allocated to retention coordinators
  • Authority to implement new initiatives
  • Authority to fund new initiatives
  • FTE for the retention coordinator

12
Retention Analysis Activity
  • 98.8 of institutions analyze retention data
    annually
  • Annual analyses, broken out by class year, 95
  • Annual analyses, broken out by race/ethnicity,
    88.8
  • Annual analyses, broken out by major, 70.9

13
Policies for Early Warning Faculty Interaction
  • Early Warning
  • Faculty Interaction Practices
  • 58.1 report they collect mid-term grade
    information for first-year students
  • However
  • 52.9 report they do not flag specific courses
    with high percentages of Ds, Fs, or Withdrawals
  • 61.0 report average class size for courses
    primarily taken by 1st year students is between
    1-30 students
  • However
  • 69.2 report that incentives for full-time
    faculty to teach first-year classes were
    non-existent or small

14
Orientation
  • 80.5 report that more than three-quarters of
    first-year students participated in entire
    orientation program.
  • 90.8 report that more than 50 of first-year
    students participated in entire orientation
    program.
  • Orientation program entails 4.74 days (mean) for
    entering first-year students.
  • 44 report having an orientation program that
    extends through the first semester of classes.

15
Academic Advising
  • Advising Practices
  • Advising Roles
  • 82.6 require first-year students to meet with an
    academic advisor every term
  • 70.0 report that incentives for full-time
    faculty to serve as academic advisors were
    non-existent or small
  • 57.1 estimate that more than three-quarters of
    their first-year students were advised by
    full-time faculty
  • 28.4 estimate that more than three-quarters of
    first-year students were advised by professional
    advisors

16
First-Year Experience
  • 73.4 offer for-credit courses specifically
    designed to help students adjust to college.
  • 50 report that all or almost all of their
    first-year students enrolled in a course designed
    to help students adjust to college.
  • 42.1 report that all or almost all of their
    students enrolled in a first-year seminar.

17
Regression on Retention Rates
Variables Beta Sig.
Authority of Retention Coordinator (Factor) -.113
Advising Required Each Term .106
Midterm Grade Reporting -.099
Residentialness .503
Total Revenue .142
Instructional Expenditures .301
Resources for Student Affairs (Index) -.015

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18
Some Caveats
  • Inferential analyses comprise an exploratory
    thread and a work in progress in a
    predominantly descriptive-level study
  • Some potential non-response bias
  • Responding institutions
  • Item-missing data
  • Focus on four-year colleges and universities

19
Discussion of Key Findings
  • Negative relationships between institutional
    efforts and persistence rates are intuitive and
    encouraging the institutions that should be
    most concerned appear to be more focused on
    persistence.
  • Buthow focused, extensive, and coordinated are
    these efforts?
  • Only 59 of respondents have retention
    coordinators and less than half are able to fund
    new initiatives.
  • The amount of time dedicated to the retention
    coordinator position is minimal.
  • Few incentives for faculty to take first-year
    teaching and advising seriously.

20
More Discussion on Key Findings
  • Residentialness matters which makes it tough for
    commuter institutions
  • A good, but worrisome sign the amount of money
    that schools spend on instruction matters (but
    national trends in this area are going in the
    wrong direction).
  • Understanding and improving student persistence
    takes institutional commitment.

21
Student Survey
  • College Board Pilot Study on Student Retention

22
College Board Pilot Study on Student Retention
Student Survey (Year One)
  • A survey of first-time, full-time, first-year
    students at 8 four-year institutions
  • Students surveyed at the end of their first year
    (spring 2006)
  • Web-based instrument
  • In-class paper-and-pencil administration
  • Self-administered via campus mail
  • Response rates varied widely from under 10 to
    over 35
  • Follow-up data collected from institutions to
    show enrollment in fall 2006
  • Allows us to look at persistence

23
Participating Campuses
  • Campuses included
  • 3 commuter campuses
  • 2 small private liberal arts colleges
  • 3 residential public universities
  • 1 public HBCU
  • 1 private HBCU
  • Institutions in six states

24
Survey focus on student experiences of
actionable institutional practices
  • Advising structures and policies
  • Orientation
  • Interaction with faculty
  • Active learning
  • Experiences with financial aid practices
  • Perceptions of campus climate
  • Perceptions of academic regulations
  • Availability and use of services and facilities

25
Institution-Specific Analyses
  • Descriptive information
  • Participation in student programs
  • Classroom experiences
  • Time diary items
  • Satisfaction
  • Inferential analyses
  • Explore factors associated with persistence
  • Merge data with SAT Questionnaire program and
    fall 2006 enrollment data to explore covariates
    of persistence

26
Results from Residential Campuses
  • Overview
  • Students Intent to Persist
  • Year-to-year persistence rates ranged from 74.6
    to 94
  • Factors capturing aspects of academic engagement
    emerge on one campus
  • Campus 2 High Academic Engagement (a.629 )
  • Campus 2 Use of Public Space for Learning
    (a.607)
  • Logistic regressions showed that a traditional
    persistence model enhanced the prediction of
    which students did not persist
  • Variables that contribute significantly to intent
    to persist
  • Campus 1 development of friendship networks,
    class attendance, and positive perceptions about
    placement practices
  • Campus 2 high combined SAT score
  • Variables that detract significantly from
    respondents intent to persist
  • Campus 2 distance of residence from campus, time
    spent preparing for class

27
Results from Commuter Campuses
  • Overview
  • Students Intent to Persist
  • Year-to-year persistence rates ranged from 73.7
    to 83.4
  • Logistic regressions showed that a scaled-down
    traditional persistence model enhanced the
    prediction of which students did not persist
  • Overall variance explained by the models was
    relatively low though comparable to other
    research on persistence
  • Academic engagement variables included in the
    models did not show a significant effect
  • Variables that contribute significantly to intent
    to persist
  • Campus 1 development of friendship networks
  • Campus 2 certainty of being able to pay for
    college

28
Summary of Cross-Case Findings
  • A consistent satisfaction factor emerged across
    campuses
  • High reliabilities, ranging from .847 to .903
  • Encompasses students ratings of satisfaction on
  • overall educational experiences
  • overall quality of teaching in classes
  • technological resources
  • social experiences
  • level of support for students
  • Differences across campuses begin to emerge
    (promising, given goal of pilot study)
  • Robust factors for capturing
  • complexity of individual campus environments
  • practices surrounding retention

29
Challenges, Questions, Next Steps
  • Challenges
  • Identification of policy levers associated with
    persistence
  • Lack of variability in survey responses on some
    questions
  • Use of findings by colleges to improve
    persistence
  • Questions
  • Implications for policymakers?
  • Who is the audience and how would the results be
    used?
  • Next steps
  • Student survey has been revised and we are
    administering in class whenever possible
  • Institutional survey focus groups and refining of
    instrument
  • Student survey is paired with an institutional
    survey effort

30
Where Are We Going?
  • Working with the College Board to create national
    benchmarking surveys for two- and four-year
    schools.
  • First goal is to provide descriptive information
    about what peer institutions are doing.
  • As we gather data from more institutions we will
    also continue to examine how institutional
    intensity of effort, policies, and practices
    influence student success.

31
Contact Us
  • Indiana University
  • Project on Academic Success
  • http//pas.indiana.edu
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