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Student Persistence



A presentation I did in grad school that examined some of the causes and cures for college student departure.

A presentation I did in grad school that examined some of the causes and cures for college student departure.



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Student Persistence Student Persistence Presentation Transcript

  • To persist or not to persist: A deeper look into the causes and cures of college student departure
  • Three parts:
    • Why students leave college.
    • What the effects of departure are for both students and colleges.
    • What measures can be taken to reduce departure and increase persistence.
  • Some quick stats
    • About 50% of students leave their college or university before graduating (Tinto, 1993).
    • 28.5% of those entering four year institutions leave at the end of their first year (Tinto, 1993).
  • Different types of departure (Tinto, 1975)
    • Academic failure
    • Permanent dropout
    • Temporary dropout
    • Transfer
    • Voluntary withdrawal
    • Tinto (1993) asserted that student dropouts occur because individuals fail to sufficiently integrate into different aspects of college or university life.
    • He identified the variables of social and academic integration.
    • He posited that if students fail to integrate in one of these ways they are more likely to withdraw.
  • Tinto’s Student Integration Model (1993)
  • Seven major causes of departure
    • Academic difficulties
    • Adjustment difficulties
    • Unclear goals
    • Inadequate levels of commitment
    • Insufficient finances
    • Not feeling a good sense of “fit”
    • Lack of involvement
  • Some possible cures for departure
    • Faculty should structure time to spend with students outside of class (Tinto, 1993).
    • College marketing pieces should give accurate portrayals of campus life, values (Tinto, 1993).
    • Cultivate “active learning” (Bonwell & Eison, 1991).
    • Use more first year seminars to facilitate active learning (Braxton, et al., 2000).
  • Other cures…
    • Strengthen advising programs; giving particular attention to first year students (Frost, 1991).
    • Reorganize the first year of college and institute concept of “learning communities” (Tinto, 1998).
    • Involve older students to help newer students adjust to and form a loyalty to their institution (Bean, 1985).
  • Other cures…
    • Involve faculty members with new student orientations (Terenzini, 1994).
    • Involve parents in new student orientations (Terenzini, 1994).
    • Promote the idea of “validating” experiences (Terenzini, et al., 1994).
  • Final thoughts
    • Educational stakeholders must acknowledge retention as a strategic issue and own the commitment to improve it (McLaughlin, et al., 1998)
    • The education and welfare of students has to be first priority and it must be modeled by senior administrators (Tinto, 1993).
    • Validation and affirmation are critical (Terenzini, et al.)
    • No one universal successful retention program exists. Each institution needs to research and implement programs and practices that work best for their own campus.
  • References
    • Anderson, J. A., & Adams, A. M. (1992). Acknowledging the learning styles of diverse student populations: Implications for instructional design. In L. L. B. Border & N. V. N. Chism (Eds.), Teaching for diversity. New Directions for Teaching and Learning No 49. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • Astin, A. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25 (3), 297-308.
    • Bean, J.P. (1985). Interaction effects based on class level in an explanatory model of college student dropout syndrome. American Educational Research Journal , 22 , 35-64.
    • Bonwell, C. and J. Eison. (1991). Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom . ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports. edited by J. Fife. Washington D.C.: George Washington University.
    • Boyle, T. P. (1989). An examination of the Tinto model of retention in higher education. NASPA Journal , 26 , 289-294.
    • Braxton, J. M., Hirschy, A.S., & McClendon, S.A. (2004). Understanding and reducing college student departure. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports, 30 (3). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
    • Braxton, J. M., Milem, J. F., & Sullivan, A. S. (2000). The influence of active learning on the college student departure process: Toward a revision of Tinto's theory. The Journal of Higher Education, 71 (5), 569-590.
  • References Cont’d
    • Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice. AAHE Bulletin, 39, 3-7.
    • Frost, S. H. (1991). Academic advising for student success: A system of shared responsibility. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 3. Washington, DC: Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University.
    • Mallette, B. I., & Cabrera, A. (1991). Determinants of withdrawal behavior: An exploratory study. Research in Higher Education, 32 (2), 179-194.
    • McCubbin, I. (2003). An examination of criticisms made of Tinto’s 1975 student integration model of attrition.
    • Milem, J. F., & Berger, J. B. (1997). A modified model of student persistence: Exploring the relationship between Astin's theory of involvement and Tinto's theory of student departure. Journal of College Student Development , 38 , 387-400.
    • Moffat, M. (1989). Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture .
    • Rutgers: Rutgers University Press.
    • Nora, A., Cabrera, A., Hagedorn, L. S., & Pascarella, E. T. (1996). Differential impacts of academic and social experiences on college-related behavioral outcomes versus different ethnic and gender groups at four-year institutions. Research in Higher Education , 37 , 427-452.
  • References Cont’d
    • Nora, A. (1987). Determinants of retention among Chicano college students. Research in Higher Education, 26 (1), 31-59.
    • Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. (1980). Predicting persistence and voluntary dropout decisions from a theoretical model. Journal of Higher Education, 51 (1), 60-75.
    • Sorcinelli, M. D. (1991). Research findings on the seven principles. In A. W. Chickering, & Z. F. Gamson (Eds.), Applying the seven principles of good practice in undergraduate education (pp. 13-25). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • Terenzini, P. T., & Pascarella, E. T. (1977). Voluntary freshman attrition and patterns of social and academic integration in a university: A test of a conceptual model. Research in Higher Education, 6 (1), 25-43.
    • Terenzini, P.T., Rendon, L.I., Upcraft, M.L., Millar, S.B., Allison, K.W., Gregg, P.L., & Jalomo, R. (1994). The transition to college: Diverse students, diverse stories. Research in Higher Education , 35 (1), pp.57-73
    • Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: A theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research 45 (1), 89-125. 
    • Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (Second Ed.) . Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • References Cont’d
    • Tinto, V. (1998). Colleges as communities: Taking research on student persistence seriously. The Review of Higher Education , 21 (2), 167-177.
    • Tinto, V. (2000). Taking retention seriously: Rethinking the first year of college. NACADA Journal , 19 , 5-10.
    • Tinto, V., Goodsell-Love, A., & Russo, P. (1993). Building community among new college students. Liberal Education . 79 :16-21.
    • Warren, R. G. (1997). Engaging students in active learning. About Campus: Enriching the Student Learning Experience , 2, 16-20.
    • Williams, T.E. (1986b). Optimizing student-institution fit: An interactionist perspective. College and University , 61 , 141-152.