RESEARCH PROPOSALADULT RETENTION: A LOOK AT INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL FACTORS THAT AFFECT AND INCREASE RETENTION RATES AMONG NON- TRADITIONAL ADULT LEARNERS OF AFRICAN DESCENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION BY CHRIS THOMAS
INTRODUCTION While to date the fastest growing population on college campuses throughout the united states are nontraditional students who are attending 2 and 4 year programs on a part time bases the retention and graduation rates of this segment of the student body continues to plummet and Educational institutions continue to turn a blind eye
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM In a not so recent longitudinal study on persistence and degree attainment, findings have shown that nontraditional students 36 percent vs 16 percent were twice as likely as traditional students to leave or stop-out of school in their first year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1995). In addition according to Fain (2012) 43 percent of colleges and universities surveyed by his group stated the administration valued the money nontraditional part time students bring in but were not at all eager to provide programs that supported that population of the student body The facts are that educational institutions would collect more educational revenue if their nontraditional learners just stuck with it, does not seem to resonate across the lines of academia and these nontraditional students just keep coming
PURPOSE STATEMENT The intent of this concurrent mixed methods study is to contribute to this body of study by exploring the personal, social and academic factors that impact the retention and graduation rates of nontraditional male students of African American Descent. My reason for combining both qualitative and quantitative data is to better understand the research problem of retention of nontraditional students of African American Descent by converging both qualitative and quantitative data thus increasing my position to advocate for change through the design and development of credit and noncredit based courses that engage and increase interaction among adult male learners of African descent.
THEORETICAL WORLD VIEW The Pragmatic worldview is derived from the works of Peirce, James, Mead, and Dewey (Creswell, 2009). The pragmatic concern is with applications, what works and solutions to problems (Creswell, 2009). The pragmatic researcher emphases the problem that will be studied, and then only then, will they use all the approaches that are available to understand it. The worldviews of pragmatism believes that we are limited only by our own imagination.
RESEARCH QUESTION Does providing academic support facilities relate to increased academic enrollments among adult learners of African descent? Does academic engagement and persistence increase for adult male learners who have actively responded to academic support tools?
HYPOTHESIS There is a relationship between student engagement programs such as orientation and learning labs and increases in retention and graduation rates among adult males of African descent?
LITERATURE REVIEW Nontraditional Adult learners usually arrive at their new college or university with some credits earned from previous colleges or through some form of prior learning assessments or maybe even the military (Fain 2012). Over the years this research has gone through many changes, from the understanding of factors that affect the retention rates of nontraditional students (Tinto, 2006). Investing resources to prevent opting out of school are more cost effective than applying the same resources to more recruitment (Astin,1975).
METHODS AND PROCEDURES There are three important aspects to consider when designing a mixed methods strategy: timing, weighting, and mixing Timing: our non- sequentially concurrent mixed method model we get all the data at once concurrently both the quantitative and qualitative data will be gathered on site in one visit. (Creswell, 2009). Weighting; we will be placing greater weight towards qualitative analysis from interviews conducted during the 1 week survey process. Mixing of the data, the research question, the philosophy and the interpretation. The mixing of data will occur at the data collection points.
RESEARCH DESIGNS The mixed methods approach to designing research studies is the approach we will be using, in this approach both quantitative and qualitative data is gathered, the data become more than just the collection and analysis of both data sources separated in a vacuum. The Research study questions of the mixed methods will be written as separate hypotheses and qualitative questions and placed at the beginning of a study and then followed up by face to face open ended interview questions.
MIXED METHOD ANALYSIS We hope the study will show that both voluntary internal and voluntary external academic support interventions are contributing factors in the retention and graduation of nontraditional adult male learners of African descent. In addition we hope this study will also show that the lack of external support that engages the learners academically and socially in learning is a key factor in the decision by learners to opt-out of school.
TARGET POPULATION The participants in this study will be approximately 300 current and past male students from a HBC (historically black college). The college will select the students at random from a list of those learners who either opt-out of college, are currently enrolled, graduated or students who had brought with them transfer credits and opt-out or are presently in danger of opting-out. an invitation to participate will be sent to them from the academic advising office.
BIAS AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS Some of the Ethical considerations to be mindful of during this study are the personal reasons the student may have that had contributed to their lack of engagement academically which was a factor for them not finishing school. To address this we have installed features that maintain the anonymity of the student’s names and identifiable information.
REFERENCESAstin, A. W. (1975). Preventing students from dropping out. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. (3rd ed.) SageFain, P (2012, July 11).Where Are All the Adults? [Web log post].Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/07/11/acc reditor-will-require-colleges-stop-ignoring-adult- student-retentionNational Center for Education Statistics retrieved from:http://www.nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012280.pdf