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Factors that Predict Academic Achievement for Undecided Students. NACADA 2010 Annual Conference Kimberly S. Brown, PhD Director of the University Academic Advising Center. Today’s Agenda.

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factors that predict academic achievement for undecided students

Factors that Predict Academic Achievement for Undecided Students

NACADA 2010 Annual Conference

Kimberly S. Brown, PhD

Director of the University Academic Advising Center

today s agenda
Today’s Agenda

The purpose of this session is to share findings of a recent study examining which factors could predict the academic achievement of undecided students.

  • Review of literature
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Relationship of findings to prior research
  • Implications for future practice, research and policy
  • Limitations
  • Discussion
literature
Literature

Academic Achievement

  • A student’s ability to meet or exceed the academic standards of a given institution (Brown, 2009)

Undecided Students

  • Students who are “unwilling, unable, or unready to make educational or vocational decisions”

(Gordon, 1995)

literature academic achievement
Literature:Academic Achievement

Importance:

It reflects one measure of students’ acquisition of important skills and attributes considered necessary to demonstrate learning has occurred.

Benefits:

literature factors that influence aa
Literature:Factors that influence AA
  • Background characteristics
  • Self-perception of abilities
  • Degree aspirations
  • Choice of major
literature undecided students
Literature:Undecided Students

Who are they?

  • Less likely to persist
  • Lower scores
  • Lower academic performance
  • Rapidly increasing population
literature undecided status
Literature:Undecided Status

When considering issues related to undecided students, it is imperative to consider the varying levels of undecidedness

(Gordon, 1988)

At study institution:

literature pre college characteristics
Literature:Pre-College Characteristics
  • Background Characteristics
    • high school achievement
    • gender
    • SAT score
    • ethnicity
    • parental education
    • parental income
    • Self-perception of Abilities
    • analytic ability
    • artistic ability
    • leadership ability
    • emotional health
    • Degree Aspiration
literature academic achievement and gpa
Literature:Academic Achievement and GPA
  • GPA is commonly used as an indicator of student achievement
  • 1st year GPA is a measure of the consistent academic achievement of a student across terms
  • (Brashears & Baker, 2003)
  • GPA has been found to be significant predictor of persistence
  • (Allen, 1999; Mitchel, Goldman, & Smith, 1999)
purpose of this study
Purpose of this study…

To determine the relationship between academic achievement and undecided status and how much variance in academic achievement can be explained by pre-college characteristics.

research questions
Research Questions
  • Are there statistically significant differences between SMs and NSMs in terms of background characteristics?
  • Are there statistically significant differences between SMs and NSMs in terms of self-perceptions of abilities?
  • Are there statistically significant differences between SMs and NSMs in terms of degree aspirations?
  • Are there statistically significant differences between SMs and NSMs in terms of academic achievement (first year GPA)?
  • For NSMs, how much variance in GPA is explained by pre-college characteristics?
  • For SMs, how much variance in GPA is explained by pre-college characteristics?
methodology1
Methodology

N=852

NSM=538

SM=314

N=3,964

methodology2
Methodology

Questions 1-4

Conducted chi-squares and t-tests (as appropriate) to determine whether significant differences (p<.05) existed

Questions 5 & 6

Multiple linear regression was employed to determine how much variance was explained by the precollege characteristics

results nsms vs sms
RESULTS: NSMs vs. SMs

Background Characteristics

Self-perception of Abilities

  • Sex
  • SAT
  • High school achievement
  • Parental income
  • Race
  • Parental education
  • Analytic ability
  • Artistic ability
  • Leadership ability
  • Emotional health

Degree Aspirations

Academic Achievement

  • No significant differences
  • NSMs
results predicting aa
RESULTS: PREDICTING AA

NSMs

4 significant predictors

  • High school achievement
  • Parental education
  • SAT
  • Sex

F(11, 526)=9.582, p=.000

16.7% of variance explained

SMs

3 significant predictors

  • High school achievement
  • Parental education
  • Sex

F(11,302)9.726, p=.028

6.6% of variance explained

relationship to prior research
Relationship to Prior Research
  • Academic achievement of females
  • GPA (HS) consistent predictor of academic achievement in college
  • Parental education=positive influence on academic achievement
  • Self-perception of abilities varied
  • Undecided students=lower levels of academic success
  • All undecided students are the same
implications for future
Implications for Future

Practice

  • High schools
  • Admission counselors
  • Academic support providers
  • Academic advisors

Research

  • Qualitative data
  • Non- self reported data
  • Longitudinal lens
  • Alternative measures of academic achievement
  • Policy
  • Recruitment and admissions
  • Academic support services
  • Change of major process
limitations
Limitations
  • Generalizability
  • Definition of achievement
  • Classification of undecided students
questions
Kimberly S. Brown, PhD

Director of the University Academic Advising Center

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

[email protected]

QUESTIONS?
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